Thousands of people in Lares, Puerto Rico, lashed out at the United States last weekend while marking the anniversary of the colony’s first call for independence and denouncing the FBI for the shooting death of independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios a year ago.

Demonstrators chanted “Yankees go home!” and “FBI killers!” in a reference to the Sept. 23, 2005, killing of Ojeda, who was leader of a pro-independence group called the Macheteros.

“These terrorists, that Yankee empire that wants to instill fear in us, they should know better — we won’t surrender,” Nationalist Party President Rosa Meneses told supporters who massed in Revolution Square in Lares.

The annual event commemorates an 1898 rebellion against Spanish colonial rule.

Last month, U.S. federal investigators said FBI agents were justified in shooting Ojeda, 72, a fugitive who was wanted in connection with a 1983 bank robbery in Connecticut. As recently as last week, FBI agents went to the homes of two Puerto Rican activists as part of an ongoing investigation into the Macheteros.

“If the FBI thought that threats could prevent this plaza from being filled, they were mistaken because here there are thousands of independence supporters,” Puerto Rican Independence Party spokesman Edwin Irizarry Mora remarked.

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