Protests Continue in Puerto Rico Against Coal Ash Contamination

In the early hours of Friday morning, activists gathered at the entrance of Applied Energy Systems (AES)’s building in Guayama, Puerto Rico, to block trucks that were carrying toxic coal ash and heading to Peñuelas, La Perla del Sur reported.

According to the newspaper, the protest escalated after there were confrontations between police and protesters. Other outlets had video of the confrontations.

After a few hours, the trucks were able to leave.

Puerto Ricans are demanding that the government stop AES from dumping coal ash in different areas of the island.

AES is the American private energy company responsible for the toxic coal ash dumped in Peñuelas and other places in Puerto Rico.

These actions have been legal since 2015 when the Puerto Rico Electric and Power Authority (PREPA) and AES signed an agreement that would allow the company to dispose the coal ash, as reported by Centro de Periodismo Investigativo. Many organizations are educating Puerto Ricans in the diaspora and allies about the current situation.

One Friday morning, Residente tweeted on Friday morning, encouraging people to engage and speak up.

” Puerto Rico: What’s happening in Peñuelas affects us all as a country and we need to be united. If you can’t be there physically, look other ways to help,” he tweeted in Spanish.

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María Camila Montañez is a journalism student at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s Spanish-language program. She is originally from Colombia and tweets from @mariacmontanez.

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