Puerto Ricans protest Trump's response after Hurricane Maria

Dozens of cars to drive by the president's Mar-a-Lago estate

By Amanda Castro - Reporter/Anchor

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Thousands of Puerto Ricans are expected to participate in a caravan, rally and vigil marking one year since Hurricane Maria devastated the island. The protesters will voice their outrage with how President Donald Trump responded to the disaster.

Dozens of people packed a charter bus outside the headquarters for the organization Alianza for Progress in Kissimmee Saturday morning. They called it a "historic journey" to Mar-a-Lago, where up to 70 vehicles will drive by Trump's golf course and estate to leave him a message.

"To tell the president we are here and you cannot forget us," Nicole Baltazara, who works with Alianza, said.

Alianza helped organize the statewide protest.

The rally comes after Trump's administration announced this week they led historic recovery efforts after Hurricane Maria. On the one-year anniversary of the devastating storm, Trump's administration said power is restored to almost the entire island and they dedicated billions of dollars in federal funds.

The bus loaded up with protesters heading to Mar-A-Lago

Trump addressed the federal government's response last week.

"The job that FEMA and law enforcement and everybody did working along with the governor in Puerto Rico I think was tremendous. I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success," Trump said.

But many of the Puerto Ricans who are protesting said they are outraged with how Trump's administration handled Hurricane Maria. They said he didn't act quickly enough.

They are also upset with Trump's tweets claiming the death toll was inflated to make him look bad.

"How can you tell us [that] and minimize the pain of those who we lost? That is inhumane to say the least," Baltazara said.

The protestors said they are demanding Trump's respect.

"This is a powerful momentum for not only Puerto Ricans to remember Hurricane Maria and all the disasters that happened and the way that we were treated," protestor Zulma Velez-Estrada said.

Protesters heading to Mar-A-Lago

The demonstrators said they want to make sure their voices are heard.

"For the administration to recognize what really happened. They have to take responsibility for what really happened," Baltazara said. "If the president qualifies the job that he did with Puerto Rico as a fantastic job, he does not recognize the extent of what happened in Puerto Rico."

Up to 2,000 people are expected to participate in the protest. In addition to the caravan at Mar-a-Lago, there will also be a rally and vigil held in West Palm Beach.

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