Dozens in Raleigh march in solidarity with massive Puerto Rico protests

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- When Capitol Police outside the General Assembly told demonstrators Monday night that they didn't have the proper permit to march down Bicentennial Mall, they simply moved the march to Moore Square -- chanting, drumming, and demanding a change at the top of Puerto Rico's government.

They chanted, "Ricky renuncia!" or "Ricky resign" in reference to Puerto Rico's embattled governor, Ricardo Rossello.

Tens of thousands of protesters jammed the streets of San Juan on Monday demanding Rosello's resignation.

The crisis follows the leak of nearly 900 pages of group chat messages between the governor and his inner circle filled with the sexist and homophobic language.

On Facebook, Rossello conceded, "Apologizing is not enough." He announced he would not seek re-election, but would finish his term.

RELATED: Embattled Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello won't seek re-election

"There is no doubt left that Puerto Rico has spoken," said Raleigh march organizer Faisal Khan, director of the Carolina Peace Center. "Ricky Rossello must resign immediately."

Some protests have already turned violent in Puerto Rico. Family members back here in Raleigh are concerned it will get worse.

"I fear civil unrest and that things will get bloody," said demonstrator Elke Millan.

Yashira Valentin shared her 2017 Hurricane Maria survival story as a student at the University of Puerto Rico. She said the offensive chat messages are just the final straw of years of corruption; accusing Rossello's administration of wasting billions of dollars in hurricane recovery aid.

"It was a sense of hopelessness and not having my family being able to work. We didn't have access to gasoline most of the time," said Valentin. "We will not tolerate this anymore."

Lorraine Johnson arrived at podium seemingly exasperated with the crisis that has been brewing for years on her native island.

"We are tired," Johnson said. "Our people are one of the most resilient cultures in the world, and we cannot take it anymore."

Monday marked the tenth consecutive day of protest in Puerto Rico. It was the largest demonstration in twenty years. More are being called for later in the week and organizers in Raleigh are pledging to stay active to show solidarity.

Protesters descend on NC State Capitol, demand Puerto Rico's governor resign
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