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Thousands March in DC for More Hurricane Relief for Puerto Rico

  • VOA News

Members of the Hispanic Federation participate in the Unity March to highlight the ongoing humanitarian and natural disaster crisis in Puerto Rico, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Nov. 19, 2017.

Thousands marched in Washington, D.C., along the National Mall to the U.S. Capitol Sunday to demand more disaster aid for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

Two months after Hurricane Maria tore across the island, about half of its 3.4 million population still has no electricity and others have no running water.

"We have men and women in Puerto Rico who are suffering. We need to help out our fellow Americans...we need to make Puerto Rico great again," one demonstrator said.

Others complained about what they see as indifference from the Trump White House because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory - not a state - and is not on the U.S. mainland like hurricane-battered Texas and Florida.

Many of Sunday's protesters demanded the White House scrap what is known as the Jones Act - a 1920 law that says only U.S.-flagged ships - no foreign vessels - can carry goods from one U.S. port to another.

Protesters hold up signs to highlight the ongoing humanitarian and natural disaster crisis in Puerto Rico, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Nov. 19, 2017.
Protesters hold up signs to highlight the ongoing humanitarian and natural disaster crisis in Puerto Rico, at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Nov. 19, 2017.

The law was waived in the case of bringing relief supplies to Puerto Rico. But critics say badly-needed relief could have been delivered during the time it took to suspend the rules.

Some of the marchers are also calling on Washington to forgive Puerto Rico's $73 billion debt -- something that President Donald Trump has suggested.

The White House asked Congress last week for another $44 billion hurricane relief for Puerto Rico, Florida, and Texas. Some Trump critics call that request paltry.

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