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Puerto Ricans to decry austerity, hurricane help at hearing

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hundreds of Puerto Ricans are filling up a coliseum to speak at a first of its kind public hearing held by a group of U.S. legislators visiting the U.S. territory amid complaints about austerity measures and the pace of federal hurricane recovery funds nearly two years after Hurricane Maria hit.

The crowd came from cities and towns across the island and included students, retirees, people in construction boots and others in high heels. Some even brought gamecocks to protest a recent federal ban on the island’s cockfighting industry.

Friday’s public hearing comes a day after the U.S. Government Accountability Office issued a report stating in part that some Puerto Rico municipalities are struggling financially because they have not been fully reimbursed for work already completed after the Category 4 storm.

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