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Puerto Rican police fire tear gas at crowds protesting governor
Police in San Juan, Puerto Rico, fired tear gas and rubber bullets late Wednesday at thousands of protesters demanding the resignation of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, according to The New York Times.
The Times noted that protesters ranged from students to the elderly, adding that they said they were motivated by the arrests of top officials on corruption charges as well as long-term corruption amid austerity measures that have disproportionately affected the island's poorest residents.
"I have never seen or heard of a transparent government," Vanessa Ruiz, a 34-year-old teacher, told the Times. "I haven't lived under a government that hasn't been corrupt. This is why we came."
The protests, which entered their fifth day Wednesday, followed the arrests of several top Puerto Rican officials, including the former education secretary, by the FBI.
Shortly after the arrests, messages between Rosselló and his inner circle leaked that included misogynistic and homophobic language about his political rivals and critics, including pop singer Ricky Martin, who reportedly participated in the latest demonstrations.
After Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in 2017, Rosselló was widely criticized for awarding a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy, which had no experience responding to disasters and is based in the hometown of former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.
Numerous members of Rosselló's own New Progressive Party are also losing faith in him and calling for his ouster, according to the Times.
"I expected to see a sensible man, a repentant man," Ponce mayor and fellow party member Mayita Meléndez said, adding that she got the opposite impression after a meeting with the governor.