In the protests outside the Presidential House, 11 police officers were wounded and 28 people were arrested on suspicion of
violent actions in the public area and attacking the police. - MRN photo -
Published Tuesday, October 13, 2020Road blockades affect commerce,
says the Chamber
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff
The consequences of the road blockades for commerce and the country, in general, have been regrettable, the Chamber of Commerce said in its statement.
According to the chamber, it is estimated that only in the Greater Metropolitan Area, there have been losses of more than $2.8 million a day in businesses due to road blockades.
The Greater Metropolitan Area or GAM is the area made up of cities in the outskirts of San José such as Alajuela, Heredia and Cartago.
Businesses have suffered sales declines of up to 25%. The economic negative impact on the northern, southern and coastal areas of the country has been up to 85%, Arturo Rosabal, vice president of the Chamber said.
Port delays for imports have lasted several days. Land borders, the lines of trucks, damaging exports and transport, the Chamber said.
According to the Chamber's statistics, the commercial sector is made up of 17,194 companies and generates about 280 thousand jobs.
"We are facing one of the worst economic situations that the country has had in its history," Rosabal said. "Right now what we need is an economic reactivation and these road blockades sink any possibility that is oriented in the line of improvement and progress."
The chamber asks protesters to march peacefully, find agreements with the government through conversation and without obstructing the right of free movement.
On Monday, the government reported that representatives of the ministries continue in dialogue with various groups of protesters to reach agreements and end the road blockades.
Among the most recent meetings is by Victoria Hernández, Minister of Economy who traveled to the southern zone of the country to meet with the leaders of the blockades in Paso Canoas Canton, on the border with Panama. It has not yet been confirmed by the government if the meeting resulted in any agreement to stop the road blockades.
According to the report of incidents in the marches by the Ministry of Security on Monday, the main blockades in the streets were registered on route 1, route 27, route 32, the North Inter-American Highway, near the North Biological Corridor, in the communities of El Ceibo, Longo Mai and El Brujo, in Buenos Aires de Puntarenas, in Pérez Zeledón, Paso Canoas, Corredores, Sarapiquí, Pococí among many others.
According to the group that has the most members and organizes the main road blockades, Movimiento Rescate Nacional, MRN, (National Rescue Organization in English), no agreement has yet been reached with the government to stop the marches. Then, more protests may continue.
On Monday, the leader of MNR, former deputy Celimo Guido, organized a march through San José downtown main streets to the Presidential House in Zapote District.
According to the Ministry of Public Security, as a result of the protests outside the Presidential House, 11 police officers were wounded and 28 people were arrested on suspicion of violent actions in the public area and attacking the police.
This despite the former deputy José Miguel Corrales, the other so-called leader of MRN to ask for forgiveness to Costa Ricans for the chaos caused by the road blockades and requested to stop the protests.
According to the Ministry of Security, during the weekend approximately 500 people participated in 16 road blockades and 18 roadblocks with intermittent right-of-way for vehicles.
From Oct. 1 to date, approximately 109 people have been detained for participating in road blockades in public streets and zones, resisting arrest and assaulting police with weapons, the ministry reported.
Injuries to 101 police officers as a result of clashing with the protesters were reported, according to the ministry, in addition to 17 damaged patrol cars caused by protesters throwing objects. Authorities also seized homemade bombs, sticks, tires used in the locks and 4 guns.
Since September, several groups are simultaneously protesting and demanding the following: no additional taxes, the reopening of businesses, a more efficient collection of already approved taxes and reductions of the government expenses, among many others.
Protests might also delay traffic, so for people traveling out of the two main airports, Juan Santamaria in Alajuela Province or Daniel Oduber in Guanacaste Province, it is recommended to calculate extra time of at least one hour in advance, to avoid missing any flights.
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