In a national display of discontent, thousands of Costa Ricans protest on Tuesday

June 25, 2013

Demonstrators from several public agencies and unions on Tuesday morning marched to the front of the Legislative Assembly in downtown San José, criticizing a range of issues, from the elimination of benefits for public workers to the Public Concessions Law. Others demanded the resignation of Environment Minister René Castro, as the main responsible for a failed project to build an oil refinery in the Caribbean province of Limón.

The largest group, formed mostly by workers and students from the University of Costa Rica, gathered at La Hispanidad roundabout, east of the capital, and blocked transit to the canton of Montes de Oca.

They were joined by members of the National Association of Educators (ANDE), the High School Teachers’ Association (APSE), and the Costa Rican Education Union (SEC) and other unions.

Several schools across the country remained empty during the day.

Protesters carried banners through the streets of San José and in all other provinces, in a nationwide collective display of discontent with the current administration, which ends next year.

In Heredia, students from the National University and workers from the local public hospital blocked the main access road to the province.

In Guanacaste, workers from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute and the Social Security System blocked traffic on the Inter-American Highway North.

Hundreds of members of a citizen’s group called the Eastern Forum marched in the province of Cartago carrying banners and chanting slogans that called for the annulment of a public concessions law. They also protested against the government’s decision to block an extension of the Florencio del Castillo Highway, which connects Cartago with the capital.

Groups in Cartago also demanded the construction of a new hospital for the province, substantial improvements in public transport and the building of a new sewer system.

Dockworkers in both the Pacific province of Puntarenas and the Caribbean province of Limón closed access to the most important ports in the country.

Protesters in Puntarenas also closed traffic to the Paquera ferry, which connects communities across the Nicoya Gulf. 

Tourtists and travelers also were affected by the protests as slow traffic on the General Cañas Highway in Alajuela forced many to abandon their vehicles and walk to the Juan Santamaría International Airport in order not to miss flights. The airport terminal is operating normally.

Some residents in the Caribbean town of Limón 2000 burned tires and forced motorists to pay a “transit fee” on some streets in the area.

But there were no major incidents as in previous protests held in recent months. Heavy rains at midday caused most of the protesters in San José to disperse.

 

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