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Costa Rica unions plan large ‘peaceful’ protests on Labor Day

April 30, 2014

Members of 68 public- and private-sector unions will demonstrate Thursday to mark Labor Day along some San José’s main streets, the National Association of Public and Private Employees (ANEP) said.

The demonstrations begin at 8 a.m. at several locations throughout the capital. At 10 a.m., participants will march to the Legislative Assembly, where incoming lawmakers will officially take office and elect a new directorate.

“We want approval of a new wage policy that helps salaries recover purchasing power,” ANEP Secretary General Albino Vargas said.

In addition to better wages, union leaders have a list of demands that includes improvement of health services at the Social Security System, a government promise not to privatize health and educational services, solutions to the fiscal deficit and better public utilities services.

May 1 protests in recent years have been marked by violent acts and vandalism, mostly by groups of self-described anarchists.

Union leaders promised this year’s demonstration will be “a peaceful march,” and that cultural events and live music are scheduled for the participants’ arrival at the Assembly.

Protesters will leave before outgoing President Laura Chinchilla delivers her final State of the Nation speech later in the day.

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