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Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans blocked a major highway on Monday and joined one the largest protests on the island to date against Governor Ricardo Rosselló. The political figurehead has resisted calls for his resignation ever since highly offensive text messages he exhanged with his inner circle surfaced.
The protesters carried Puerto Rico flags, held signs, and collectively chanted their demand for Rosselló's resignation. According to the New York Times, organizers of the protests are hoping for a turnout of one million people, a third of the island's population. "This has never happened in Puerto Rico before," Angel Rosa, a professor of political science at the University of Puerto Rico, told CNN. She noted that the text messages, "offended almost every group on the island."
Earlier this month, nearly 900 pages of messages between Rosselló and his aides were leaked, which included homophobic and mysoginist comments made by the Governor. The governor's messages deeply offended a large percentage of Puerto Ricans and indicated that members of his inner-circle, who now represent special interests, are at the helm of public policy.
Among the pages of profane remarks, Rosselló took aim at Puerto Rican multi-hyphenate Ricky Martin.
"Nothing says patriarchal oppression like Ricky Martin," he wrote. "Ricky Martin is such a male chauvinist that he fucks men because women don't measure up. Pure patriarchy."
The singer took to Twitter Sunday to urge government officials to begin impeachment proceedings, and to accuse Rosselló of employing machiavellian tactics. In addition to Martin, Bad Bunny, Residente, Tito Trinidad, and Sie7e joined the protests Monday.
In response to the demonstrations, President Trump managed to congratulate himself.
“The people of Puerto Rico like me, but the leadership is corrupt and incompetent,” he said during a White House appearance with the prime minister of Pakistan. “I have a real understanding of Puerto Rico. I’m the best thing that ever happened to Puerto Rico.”
Rosselló has said that although he will not be seeking reelection in 2020, he will finish out his current term.