The human chain was organized throughout the Puerto Rican capital as well as in other spots throughout the Caribbean island.
Governor Ricardo Rosselló said on Wednesday he would step down on Aug. 2 in the face of public anger over the release of profane chat messages and embezzlement charges against two former administration officials.
Those who came out for the chain were still rejoicing over their people-powered victory.
“It seems to me that it was time, time to wake up,” 24-year old nursing student, Emely Rivera, told. “This is a fight that should have begun a long time ago. But finally. I feel a pride, an immense happiness because it really was time. Now it’s on us to open our eyes and fight for what’s rightfully ours.”
The protests drew as many as 500,000 people onto the island capital’s streets and protesters were not enthused over Secretary of Justice Wanda Vázquez being next in line to succeed
Rosselló, based on current Cabinet vacancies. One waved a sign reading “Wanda, we don’t want you either!” while another shouted, “Wanda, you’re next!”
Leaders of Rosselló’s pro-statehood party were scrambling on Thursday to negotiate another successor, according to three sources familiar with the talks who requested anonymity to discuss them.
During Rosselló’s term as governor, Puerto Rico endured back-to-back 2017 hurricanes that killed about 3,000 people just months after the U.S. territory filed for bankruptcy to restructure $120 billion of debt and pension obligations.
Three people appear to be in the strongest positions to succeed Rossello: Pedro Pierluisi, a former Puerto Rico representative in the U.S. Congress and now an attorney with Washington law firm O’Neill & Borges; Senate President Thomas Rivera Schatz and Jenniffer Gonzalez, Puerto Rico’s current delegate to the U.S. Congress.
Those who were taking part in the human chain seemed to be taken aback by what the Puerto Rican people had accomplished.
“We didn’t know we had this kind of power,” musician and activist, David Rodriguez, told. “It’s letting people know that Puerto Rico is united. I think Puerto Rico is a case study for the rest of the world right now.”