San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Costa Rican students to hold protest against police brutality

San José will be the site of yet another protest Thursday as disgruntled citizens plan a response to recent police actions during a demonstration last week at San José’s Social Security System facilities, known locally as the Caja.

The event’s Facebook page states that the demonstration is against the repression of social movements and a new law, known as the Ley Mordaza, which detractors say limits press freedom. The objective of the march is the resignation of Public Security Minister Mario Zamora and the head of the National Police, Raúl Rivera.

Citizen Action Party presidential candidate and political scientist Luis Guillermo Solís came out in support of the protest posting a plea on Facebook urging organizers to have clear objectives and avoid provoking the police.

“More than anything the march needs to have a large number of participants representative of society,” he said. “People cannot fall into temptation or be provoked by the media, the government or its allies; they need to give them a lesson in calmness, firmness and patriotic values.”  

Solís also encouraged protest organizers to ask participants not to cover their faces, a tactic used by some participants in past protests that turned violent, including one outside the Legislative Assembly recently.

The march is a response to what some are calling police brutality at a demonstration last Thursday at the Caja that led to the arrest of 36 protesters and the injury of two lawmakers. President Laura Chinchilla defended the police action, saying it was necessary in order to keep the streets open.

The march, organized by university students, will take place at 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, starting in Parque de la Merced. Protesters will then continue to the Health Ministry and eventually end at the main Caja building on Avenida 2, where a vigil will be held. Attendees are requested to wear black.

Additionally, students at the University of Costa Rica are holding a strike through Wednesday in order to pass out leaflets and inform the public about the protest.

Riots during recent protests

Who is responsible for the violence at the recent Caja demonstration?

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