Tuesday 21 September 2021

An act that dishonors the country. Attack on the president unleashes strong repudiation.

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There is no similar event in the recent history of Costa Rica, a President attacked by a riotous crowd of people, a crowd that appeared bent on violence.

Riot police confront protesters who shouted expletives at the president in the Plaza de la Cultura on Wednesday morning. Photo: Albert Marín.

That was the scene this Wednesday morning, outside the Teatro Nacional, in downtown San Jose, when President Carlos Alvarado was leaving the IV Congreso de Movilidad Urbana, a crowd of demonstrators attacked him with insults, shoves and even throwing something at him.

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A few managed to get close enough to insult him with foul language, another, wearing a yellow shirt similar to that worn by the workers of the Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE), shoved him in the back, and a man in a white union cap bent down to pick up something on the ground and throw it against the vehicle waiting for the president, parked on the boulevard of Central Avenue, in front of McDonald’s.

The shameful incident with demonstrators, strikers who oppose the tax reforms that is currently discussed in the Legislature lasted only a few minutes.

But the repudiation of the acts from different economic and social groups and on social networks continued well into the late afternoon.

Business Chambers, the Ombudsman’s Office and even the ICE itself condemned the disrespect for the president and demanded immediate and exemplary actions.

Meanwhile, the Ministerio de Seguridad Pública (MSP) – Ministry of Public Security – confirmed on Wednesday night that it is already investigating two of the demonstrators, one of them fully identified, for the attacks recorded on video. There are still no detainees.

The Chamber of Commerce of Costa Rica in a statement said, “We reiterate that these acts go beyond legality, good intentions and are very far from the right to demonstrate that the working population of the public and private sector has.”

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Wednesday evening, President Alvarado visited the same spot where he was attacked in the morning, using his cell phone posted a live video to Twitter, laughing, interacting with people in the street, demonstrating the peacefulness of the country and reiterating the message, “No one will take away our peace!”

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