QCOSTARICA – Fifteen police officers of the Fuerza Publica (national police) were beaten as a result of a confrontation with protesters Saturday night, the fourth day of protests across the country
“We have several officers who have been beaten (in Guácimo), fortunately, it is nothing serious, they are evaluating them,” said Jaime Sibaja, press officer for the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública. (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security.
A video that circulated on social media showed a backhoe driver approaching, apparently to intimidate officers trying to clear the road.
ÚLTIMA HORA: Un video que circuló en redes sociales mostró cómo el conductor de un backhoe se acercó, aparentemente, para intimidar a oficiales que intentaban despejar la vía en un bloqueo.
— José Andrés Céspedes (@jocesca) October 4, 2020
However, Sibaja did not confirm that the officials beaten were the result of that event.
An hour earlier, in Caldera, Puntarenas, members of the riot squad fired tear gas to lift another road closure.
The protesters kicked the gas canisters onto the beach to disperse the smoke and remain in place.
Radio Puerto TV reported that police officers from other areas of the country had to be called in, in the event the situation got out of hand.
In fact, while the journalists broadcast live through Facebook, one of the protesters approached to snatch their cell phone.
“Put away that camera off or else I’ll take it. How is it, do you think I can’t take it for you? You guys are leaving, now go,” he told them.
About two hours later, the situation was under control.
There were also clashes between police officers and participants in the protests in Sarapiquí, as well as a report from the Bomberos (Fire Department) about a group of portesters who burned a car in Pérez Zeledón.
Casa Presidencial reported at 11:25 pm Saturday that a police vehicle was damaged by protesters in San Ramón and that an officer was injured.
It dismissed the rumor that a police officer was held being hostage by a protester.
“During the afternoon of this Saturday, there have been a series of acts of vandalism in different parts of the country where the use of devices that put people’s lives at risk, as well as the obstruction of the right of free movement, has been evidenced.
“The Government of the Republic rejects this type of violent and even criminal activity, reiterates the call for restraint and dialogue to build agreements that guarantee the continuity of national economic activity that has been severely hit as a result of the blockades”, said the statement.
The protests with blockades began on Wednesday by opponents of the government plan presented to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The Plan includes new taxes, including taxing banking transactions, income and property taxes to obtain a US$1.75 billion dollar to meet the current economic crisis blamed on the pandemic.