Thousands expected to attend protests planned at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago

Thousands of people are expected to attend protests scheduled to take place later this month at President TrumpDonald TrumpBaldwin calls Trump criticism following 'Rust' shooting 'surreal' Haley hits the stump in South Carolina Mary Trump files to dismiss Trump's lawsuit over NYT tax story MORE’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida “to mourn the victims of Hurricane Maria and demand justice for Puerto Rico.”

Leaders of the Central Florida Puerto Rican community told the Orlando Sentinel in a report published on Wednesday that they are expecting up to 2,500 people to come out for demonstrations scheduled to take place a week from Saturday to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Maria.

"It's been a year since one of the greatest tragedies in the history of Puerto Rico, and we here in the United States want to fight so that the world never forgets," Jimmy Torres Velez, founder of Boricua Vota ("A Puerto Rican Votes"), told the local newspaper. 

The first event will be held at Mar-a-Lago, where protesters will reportedly attempt to surround the president’s "Winter White House."

Marcos Vilar, president of the Orlando-based Alianza for Progress, said the second event will be a “gathering of cultures, presentations and statements” from the Puerto Rican community at the Meyer Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach to honor the thousands of lives lost in Hurricane Maria.


Vilar said the final event to mark the anniversary of the September 2017 hurricane will be an interfaith vigil.

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico last year, the Trump administration faced criticism for its handling of recovery efforts on the island as well as the accounting of the deaths, though the president himself and administration officials have defended their actions.

Last month, the Puerto Rican government acknowledged that 2,975 people likely died on the island due to Hurricane Maria, a number which is far greater than the government's initial official death toll of 64. 

Vilar blamed “the very slow and perhaps negligent response from President Trump and his administration” for the high death toll. 

He also slammed the president’s comments earlier this week after he called his administration’s response to the hurricane “an incredible unsung success.” 

“It is interesting the president chose 9/11 to pat himself on the back,” Vilar said. “It’s sort of a contrast of how he views citizenship and how citizenship really works. A democratic government has a pact with citizens. A citizen has a responsibility to participate and be active in civic life … and the government, in turn, has a responsibility to protect citizens and help citizens. We feel this administration has broken that pact.”

Vilar said the president “is personally responsible for the failed response to Puerto Rico [and] should respond to our claims. … If you compare the response of the federal government to those affected by Harvey, it's a ridiculous thing. Other American citizens of Texas and Alabama were given up to 17 months of assistance.”