QCOSTARICA – After 10 days of blockades in different parts of the country, the Ministry of Public Security (MSP) reported that 101 policemen have been injured.
One of the most serious assaults was registered in Quepos, Puntarenas, on Wednesday, when a group of protesters threw a Molotov cocktail at three policemen and one of them suffered burns to his hand.
At that same point, several individuals attacked riot police with stones.
Luis Carlos Castillo, Vice Minister of Security, added that in addition to the affected personnel, 17 police units were damaged.
Given this, the Independent Union of State Workers (Siteco) stated that it is worrying that some officers sent to control the blockades and the vehicles do not have the equipment that the current situation warrants.
Mid-week, the Minister of Security, Michael Soto, said that “officials have detected the participation of drug traffickers and other local criminals in the demonstrations that had been previously peaceful.”
He mentioned that so far the more violent events have occurred mainly in Liverpool (Limón), Sarapiquí (Heredia) and in Quepos and Puntarenas, while minor incidents were recorded in other locations, such as in Cañas as police battled with protesters for the control of the Ruta 1, Interamericana Norte, in Guanacaste.
As of Friday, 80 people have been arrested and now face criminal charges for the obstruction of the public road, aggravated resistance and possession of explosives.
The protests began on Wednesday, September 30, as hundreds took to the streets to denounce the government’s plan of new taxes in its proposal to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a US$1.75 billion dollar loan to resolve the current economic crisis mainly due to the pandemic.
For the most part, the protests included “tortuguismo” slowing traffic, blocking a few strategic points across the country, and massing gatherings in downtown San Jose and the Legislative Assembly.
However, as the days passed, the violence in the blockades escalated and that anit-riot police had to be called in and forcing the leaders of the National Rescue Movement, the group behind the protests, to call for a descalation of violence and lifting of the blockades.
But no one was listening.
According to the Ministry of Security, they have seized 185 Molotov cocktails, gunpowder and Miguelito’s, 110 blunt objects (sticks and tubes), 46 containers with fuel, 109 tires, as well as bladed weapons and firearms.
Vice Minister Castillo stressed that these seizures are important, since this reduces the possibility that the security of people will be affected.
“They are objects that seek to injure the police and even individuals. They are harmful, aggressive, and harmful instruments ”, he asserted.
In the Irma de Las Juntas, in Abangares, Guanacaste, the use of a Molotov cocktail made from a glass bottle, containing gasoline and acid, was discovered.
Security explained that the objective of these bombs is that, when they explode, the glasses have a greater range and serve as shrapnel.
We are today, Saturday, October 10, in the 11th day of protests and with no end in sight.
According to the police reports at noon indicate at 16 blockades, most are in the northern part of the country.
The border with Panama, in Paso Canoas, Puntarenas, also continues closed due to the blockade of dozens of truckers who demand better working conditions.
List of closures
- Ceibo, Buenos Aires, Puntarenas
- Paso Real, Buenos Aires, Puntarenas
- Bridge over the Térraba river, Puntarenas
- Bridge over the Aguas Zarcas river, San Carlos
- Loma Verde, Pérez Zeledón
- Altamira Crossing – Vuelta Kooper in San Carlos
- Entrance to Corea, San Carlos
- San Francisco (between Muelle and Pital de San Carlos)
- Pital, San Carlos
- Metal bridge over the Zapote river, in Upala
- Bridge over the San Lorenzo River on the road between San Ramón and La Fortuna
- In front of La Negrita soda on the road between San Ramón and La Fortuna
- Paso Canoas, Puntarenas
- Entrance to Puerto Jiménez, Puntarenas
- Bridge over the Sucio River, in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí.
- San Carlos Ferry