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Demonstration, arts festival to complicate vehicle traffic in San José on Thursday

People needing to go to San José on Thursday should take a very careful look at their route. A public workers’ demonstration will take over downtown streets in the morning, while traffic on several streets will be closed in preparation for the opening of the International Arts Festival (FIA 2017) that evening.

Workers’ unions confirmed during a press conference on Tuesday morning that they will march along the capital’s Second Avenue to protest against the 1 percent raise in the monthly salary deduction that all workers contribute to the Social Security System, or Caja.

The demonstration will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday in front of La Merced Park and will end in front of the main Caja building near the National Theater.

Luis Chavarría, the secretary general of the National Union of Caja Workers (UNDECA), said protesters will deliver a proposal to the Board of Directors to revoke the hike, scheduled to take effect starting July 1. He said that they will also demand an intervention of Caja’s financial operations, as they believe that “there is a mismanagement of the funds that all workers provide.”

UNDECA and other unions have staged several public demonstrations this year to oppose Caja’s Board of Directors’ decision, originally agreed to in January.

At that time, the Caja’s top leaders said the measure aims to avoid the bankruptcy of the institution’s Pension System (IVM), the largest in the country. The decision, however, eventually prompted President Luis Guillermo Solís to ask Caja Executive President María del Rocío Sáenz Madrigal for her resignation.

Workers’ monthly salary deduction for the IVM will go from 2.84 to 3.84 percent. On July 1, it will increase by 0.5 percent, and the other 0.5 percent will be applied in January 2018.

FIA 2017

But problems for motorists and pedestrians in downtown San José don’t end there. Thursday is also the inauguration of the International Festival of Arts (FIA), and organizers began setting up stages, cranes and other structures at the Plaza de la Democracia on Tuesday evening.

The Public Works and Transport Ministry (MOPT) informed that starting Wednesday and until 2 p.m. on Thursday, only buses will be allowed to pass along Second Avenue between 11th and 19th Streets.

At 2 p.m. on Thursday, passage will be fully closed for the FIA inauguration and will reopen at 5 a.m. on Friday, MOPT said.

Preparations for the FIA on Tuesday collapsed traffic downtown. Some passengers of buses and taxis got off and started walking, trying to get out of the clogged area.

Traffic jams extended along most of the city’s main streets, from La Sabana Park West of the downtown, to San Pedro in the eastern side of the capital.

Traffic website Ruta Alterna indicated at 8:18 p.m. that it had received more than 200 reports of incidents throughout the day.

 

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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