Puerto Ricans protest in anger over unused emergency aid

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO (AP) – Hundreds of people joined a protest on Thursday organised by Puerto Rican singer René Pérez of Calle 13 fame in a demonstration reminiscent of those that ousted the island’s former governor last year. Anger is growing over emergency aid that until recently sat unused in a warehouse amid ongoing earthquakes.

Protesters gathered under the heavy rain at the governor’s mansion as they waved flags and banged on pots, demanding the ouster of Gov Wanda Vázquez.

“This is not the end! It’s just the beginning!” one of the protest organisers yelled to a cheering crowd, which had marched to the mansion from the Capitol building.

By late Thursday, police fired tear gas at a small group of protesters and ordered them to leave the area. A handful of protesters responded by setting a small barricade on fire and breaking nearby windows.

The newest protest unleashed debate about whether Puerto Ricans should try to oust Vázquez as the United States (US) territory struggles to recover from a recent 6.4 magnitude earthquake that killed one person and damaged hundreds of homes in the island’s southern region.

Protestors demand the resignation of Puerto Ricos Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced during a protest in San Juan, Puerto Rico. PHOTO: AFP