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Costa Rican officials agree ‘to study’ bikers’ demands after another day of protest

March 18, 2015

Motorcycle owners protesting on Tuesday against an increase in the cost of mandatory circulation permits – known as marchamos – delivered a list of demands to government officials, who said they would study them for a day before responding.

Presidency Vice Minister Francisco Marín received the document from the president of the National Association of Public and Private Employees, Albino Vargas, saying, “we will attempt to open a space for dialogue, probably tomorrow [Wednesday].”

Marín stressed that the government is open to dialogue, contrary to what protest leaders have said.

Previously, Communications Minister Francisco Chacón had demanded bikers refrain from blocking streets in the capital, including near the Casa Presidencial, before talks would occur.

On Tuesday, bikers blocked La Hispanidad and Las Garantías Sociales roundabouts, both east of San José, and then obstructed three main entrances to Casa Presidencial in the southeastern district of Zapote.

At about 2 p.m., after delivering the letter, protesters left Zapote and headed out on their motorcycles to “tour” different parts of the capital.

A similar demonstration was held Nov. 21 outside the National Insurance Institute (INS), but the protest ended in a stalemate after INS President Guillermo Constenla refused to budge on the issue.

Motorcycle owners are upset that 2013 marchamos are more expensive than permits for cargo trucks. Officials say motorcyclists are more prone to accidents, driving up the cost of insurance.

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