San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Bikers issue 24-hour ultimatum, threaten more protests

Motorcyclists and leaders from the National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP) gave the government a 24-hour deadline on Tuesday to negotiate a decrease in the cost of mandatory circulation permits – known as marchamos – for 2013. If the administration does not answer by Wednesday, bikers have promised more protests to disrupt traffic throughout the capital.

On Monday, a meeting scheduled for 2 p.m. was suspended because officials from Casa Presidencial demanded a public apology for acts of violence committed by bikers last week, and a guarantee that they will not block the streets again.

Later that day, members of the Civic Committee of Motorcyclists sent a written apology to President Laura Chinchilla, saying, “new demonstrations will be peaceful … but [we] cannot guarantee that all bikers will not resort to violence.”

The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court, or Sala IV, has yet to decide whether to admit three complaints filed to block the new marchamo prices from taking effect.

Two complaints were filed by Social Christian Unity Party lawmaker Luis Fishman, who has advised motorists not to pay the permits until the Sala IV’s ruling.

Marchamo rates increased this year by up to 25 percent compared to 2011.

Contact L. Arias at

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