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San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 16
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Marchers near Nosara gather to hear a message from organizer Elaine Cohen.
Marches inspired by Donald Trump draw Ticas, too
By Conor Golden
of the A.M. Costa Rica staff
with wire service reports

The shouts of solidarity and the marching along the beaches or in the streets for women’s rights and other issues of social justice took place in Costa Rica Saturday as well as around the world.

A mix of expats and Costa Ricans joined together in San José for their Saturday morning march down Avenida Central to the Plaza de la Cultura. Organizers insisted prior to the commencement of the event that they would not use anti-Trump slogans nor display banners in support of specific political parties.

There was another march with an estimated 100 participants near Nosara on the far Pacific coast. Similar events took place here while other groups that marched elsewhere around the globe.

In Costa Rica, the majority claimed to be non-partisan and welcomed all to participate. The one in the capital saw around 200 people of mostly women participating, according to Kathy Rothschild, one of the organizers for the event. Ms. Rothschild also noted that a substantial majority of attendees were Costa Rican rather than members of the U.S. expat community.

The Amigos de la Paz also participated with attendees being asked to dress in white with the march to the Plaza de la Cultura. The organization said the protest was about world peace, and a statement said the event was not against a misogynist president, meaning one who has contempt for women.

The march originally was not going to happen because both the Universidad de Costa Rica and the United Nations Costa Rica-based University for Peace denying marchers access, according to organizer Anne Marie Saidy.

“We knew it was too late to get city permits, and decided to go ahead and have our get together at the Plaza Mora, in front of the main post office in San José, where no permits are needed,” Ms. Saidy said.

The march was met by some police presence. However Ms. Saidy quickly noted that as soon as officers saw that the intention of the marchers was peaceful and without violence, they left.

“At our rally, everyone wore an item of clothing that was white, in keeping with the suffragettes who marched to get women the right to vote,” she added.

The banners addressed multiple concerns including local issues such as the militarization of the Costa Rican police forces and the promotion of the education of women in the country, according to organizers.

“Young students became very vocal as they carried a huge banner and chanted ‘Hasta la Vista, Sociedad Machista,’ or Goodbye Macho Society, again and again,” Ms. Saidy said.

The march ended at the Plaza de la Cultura where varying people involved in the march had an opportunity to speak into an open mike.

At Playa Guiones, organizer Pamela Lancaster said that around a hundred joined the march along the Guanacaste beach. Several women who planned on marching said Ms. Lancaster that they were intimidated out of participating due to bullying on social media.

A group of women spanning three generations made the almost three-hour drive from Playa San Miguel to join the Guiones protest, according to Ms. Lancaster.

These marches join hundreds of others that occurred both in the United States and throughout the world. The original Women's March on Washington that drew hundreds of thousands of participants alone was echoed in dozens of other American cities.

A crowd of more than 150,000 in Chicago, seven times as large as had been expected, meant that a planned march was turned into a rally. Another crowd gathered in Los Angeles.

Tens of thousands came out for a rally in Oakland, California.

In New York City, tens of thousands of people flooded the upscale shopping district along Fifth Avenue, heading toward Trump Tower. St. Paul, Minnesota, and Boston, Massachusetts, were two other cities where crowds of more than 50,000 people were reported.

Around the world, marches were found in places like Tokyo, Sydney, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, and Cape Town. An estimated 80,000 people rallied at London’s Trafalgar Square to march to the U.S. Embassy.

The agony at Río Virilla begins today for six weeks
By the A.M. Costa Rica staff

Restrictions on the Río Virilla bridge are a reality, but the real crunch comes today when only public buses and emergency vehicles are allowed during morning and evening rush hour.

Workmen are tearing up the eastbound lanes of bridge in order to put down a new concrete deck. Both east and westbound traffic reach the bridge in three lanes and then have to be guided into one lane in each direction on the previous westbound lanes. The bridge always has been a bottle neck because it has been just two lanes in each direction.

The bridge is on the General Cañas autopista, which also is the Interamericana Ruta 1.

Transport is fragile. A fender bender on the bridge for the next six weeks could paralyze traffic. In addition, a derailment, which is frequent, could halt train service from Belén or Alajuela to the capital.

Crews have been working over the weekend to finish the new train station at the Hospital de Alajuela. Officials hope that train service takes some of the pressure off vehicle traffic. The central government is urging employees who commute from the west to work via the internet.

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