If there had been any doubt previously, it is now clear that the current government of Puerto Rico, led by the pro-statehood New Progressive Party (PNP) is intent on provoking confrontation with dissenting citizens and using violent force against them. Yesterday (June 30) at around 4:30 p.m., a large contingent of riot police expelled protestors from the legislative capitol building and used pepper spray, tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd of peaceful protestors, injuring several of them.
According to El Nuevo Día, the protest was organized by various student, union, religious, and independent media groups to “take back the Legislature” because Puerto Rican Senate president Thomas Rivera Schatz had closed off the viewing gallery of the legislature to press for 3 days and to the public for several months. You can see video of the police-state reaction of the Puerto Rican government here.
It’s clear that the present government of Puerto Rico, led by a party with close ties to the right wing of the Republican Party, will stop at nothing to violently repress civil dissent and demands that what is left of Democracy in Puerto Rico be protected. A crisis in the democratic process in Puerto Rico is a crisis in U.S. democracy.