Protest urges Puerto Rico governor to go

Singer Ricky Martin (L) waves the Puerto Rican flag at a rally against governor Ricardo Rosello.
Singer Ricky Martin (L) waves the Puerto Rican flag at a rally against governor Ricardo Rosello.

Singer Ricky Martin and actor Benicio del Toro have joined thousands of people who demonstrated in San Juan to urge Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosello to resign.

"Go to hell, Ricky (Rosello)!" was among the slogans on placards carried by protesters, on their march which began at the Capitol and was scheduled to end at Plaza del V Centenario, in Old San Juan.

Rossello has rejected calls for his resignation after remarks he made in a private group chat were leaked.

The disparaging and sexist remarks sparked three days of demonstrations in San Juan, the capital of the US territory. Police clashed with protesters on Monday.

Martin called for Rossello's resignation and assured the demonstrators that the march was for "the future of Puerto Rico." Del Toro said that the situation "is very sad, we must protest in a peaceful way and we must explain to the governor what the people feel."

Rossello's administration has been accused of corruption and also criticised for its handling of the aftermath of hurricane Maria, which left thousands of people dead in 2017.

But the scandal known as Chatgate has plunged the administration into its biggest crisis so far.

The chat messages, which fill 889 pages, were exchanged between Rossello, several members of his administration and other people between late 2018 and early this year.

Some of the messages, which were leaked by Puerto Rico's Centre of Investigative Journalism, revealed disparaging, sexist and homophobic remarks, including of political opponents.

The leak sparked the resignation of Rossello's secretary of state, Luis Rivera Marin, who participated in the chat.

Australian Associated Press