Thousands of demonstrators descended on Puerto Rico’s capital early Monday for what was anticipated to swell into the most significant protest in a lot more than a week of public calls for Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s resignation.

Laura Rodriguez, a music teacher from Caguas who arrived in San Juan about dawn, mentioned she was incensed that Rossello has refused to step down in spite of prolonged demands by a broad cross section of Puerto Ricans. Numerous folks at the protest — grandmas in wheelchairs and teenagers, personal computer engineers and remain-at-house moms — mentioned the governor’s comments in not too long ago leaked messages had been offensive and unforgivable.

“I really feel indignation, pure indignation,” mentioned Rodriguez, 34.

Las Americas Highway in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Folks take to the Las Americas Highway in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on the 9th day of continuous protests demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossell.

(ERIC ROJAS/AFP/Getty Pictures)

In 900 pages of group-chat messages that had been published by Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the governor and some of his aides utilized sexist and misogynistic language, engaged in fat-shaming and joked about dead bodies accumulating in the days immediately after Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island in September 2017. 3 days ahead of the messages had been published, two of Rossello’s former Cabinet members had been arrested on corruption charges in connection with the directing of about $15.five million to politically connected organizations.

Rossello, who is two and a half years into his 4-year term, announced Sunday evening that he will not run for reelection in 2020. But throughout his quick speech, in which he apologized and mentioned he had heard people’s criticisms, he mentioned he intended to remain on the job.

“I am conscious of the dissatisfaction and discomfort,” he mentioned throughout a quick speech, which was streamed on Facebook. “I have heard you and I hear you now.”

The governor’s words rang hollow, several protesters mentioned Monday. If he actually heard them, they asked, why was he nonetheless their governor? The governor’s refusal to resign disgusted but didn’t surprise Rodriguez. He only cares about himself, she mentioned, not the folks he represents.

“He has disrespected us,” she mentioned. “But the pueblo — the folks he has abandoned — we will preserve packing the streets till he’s gone.”

She teared up throughout the protest as she believed back to the weeks immediately after Hurricane Maria. She believed about the time she waited in line 16 hours for gas and about her valuable students —the students who dropped out immediately after the storm and about these who broke down in tears in her classroom. She believed about their diligence, as they studied by candlelight for nine months, waiting for electrical energy to be restored in their residences.

As she spoke, several in the crowd clanged on upside-down pots with drum sticks and other protesters danced along. The smell of sunscreen mixed with hot dogs grilling nearby. A man sold smaller Puerto Rican flags for $three and folks held up indicators reading, “Ricky es basura!” referring to the governor as trash.

Protest continue in Puerto Rico

A protester waves the Puerto Rican flag in San Juan throughout protests demanding the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rossell.

(ERIC ROJAS/AFP/Getty Pictures)

Nearby, in the shade of a huge Puerto Rican flag, Haydee Silva reflected on the previous a number of days. The 73-year-old retired physical therapist mentioned the governor had somehow managed to insult almost every single Puerto Rican. Ladies, gay folks, victims of the hurricane, fat folks, she mentioned, sighing as she ticked off the list.

“He’s an embarrassment,” mentioned Silva, who traveled about 30 minutes from Trujillo Alto to the capital with her mates on Monday. “He has mocked us, all of us.”

She then waved her hand back and forth, as if bidding him farewell. Goodbye, she mentioned, hopeful that the governor will resign ahead of sundown.

Monday’s demonstration, which was centered close to the most significant buying mall on the island, followed a number of days of varied protests. Final week, a caravan of motorcycles rumbled from the outskirts of San Juan toward the governor’s official residence, La Fortaleza, and a group of Puerto Rican singers released a song named “Sharpening the Knives,” which presents a searing rebuke of Rossello. On Sunday morning, a lot more than 50 yogis splayed out colorful mats in front of La Fortaleza, chanting mantras and discussing how proud they had been to see folks uniting on the island.

Unique correspondent Milton Carrero Galarza contributed to this report.

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