San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

False Bomb Threat Stalls Legislative Assembly

A false bomb threat in the Legislative Assembly Wednesday interrupted sessions and shook nerves. An unidentified person warned of the bomb in a telephone call to an assembly secretary at 3:50 p.m., when legislators hold daily sessions.

Assembly President Francisco Antonio Pacheco ordered legislators to leave the building and gather in the boulevard, where they were greeted by shouting protestors. Police officers found no bomb after searching the building with dogs, said Vice-Minister of Public Security Rafael Gutiérrez.

The bomb threat came exactly one month after a referendum on the Central American Free-Trade Agreement with the United States (CAFTA). The protestors oppose the treaty, as well as the 11 laws legislators are now discussing to implement it.

The Public Security Ministry sent officers to guard the building yesterday, ready to enter if Pacheco sounds a warning.

Antonio Ayales, the assembly’s executive director, said security guards inside the building are checking identification cards and bags more carefully. But, he said, help from the ministry will be crucial.

“The assembly security does not have the capacity to deal with such outside pressure,” Ayales said.

The Public Security Ministry’s intelligence office is investigating the phone call. At press time, the office had not identified the caller, but said the call came from a public telephone in Cristo Rey, a neighborhood in southern San José.


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