San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

4,000 cops to guard Semana Santa activities

National Police Director Juan José Andrade on Wednesday said that 4,000 police officers will be tasked with ensuring the safety of vacationers during the coming Holy Week, or Semana Santa.

Police will set up watchtowers in high-traffic areas, such as central parks, in each province, as well as at most popular beaches in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

Cops also will establish roadside checkpoints in coordination with the Traffic Police and the Red Cross, Andrade said. And officers will be sent to support security checkpoints at borders with Panama and Nicaragua, to prevent the illegal entry of foreigners.

Easter Holy Week this year runs from March 22-31.

Police also will prevent the traditional “Burning of Judas,” mostly in communities in the provinces of Heredia, Alajuela and San José, due to incidents in previous years that resulted in dozens of people being arrested and damage to cars and properties.

The tradition calls for the burning of an effigy of Judas, the man who according to the Bible betrayed Jesus to the Romans. Although it is not part of the official Holy Week ceremonies, it is popularly practiced by many Catholics around the world.

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