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Protests of taxi drivers and educators cause chaos in the Costa Rican capital

September 3, 2019

Two separate protests, one of taxi drivers and another of educators, caused chaos on Tuesday in the congested streets of the capital of Costa Rica.

Dozens of taxis entered San José in the morning hours, when there is heavy traffic, and circulated at low speed to protest against the Uber transport platform.

Taxi drivers crossed the capital to Casa Presidencial in the southeast, where some protesters chained themselves to the gates of the government headquarters and demanded a meeting with President Carlos Alvarado.

Gilbert Ureña, leader of the National Taxi Drivers Forum, said his colleagues feel “cheated” by the government and Legislative Assembly due to the lack of progress in a bill to regulate Uber’s operations.

They claimed that the transport platform has left them out of work and demanded new regulations to reduce the number of vehicles that offer the service through Uber and similar platforms.

Meanwhile, hundreds of educators and other trade unionists from the public sector marched through the center of the capital to the headquarters of the Legislative Assembly to protest for the second consecutive day against bills that restrict the right to strike.

The march remained peaceful until it arrived at the Legislative Assembly headquarters, where a group of workers from the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) joined the protest and tried to enter the Legislative Assembly by force.

One of the initiatives against which they protest seeks to include education among Costa Rica’s list of essential services. These sectors would be prohibited from striking.

Another initiative sought to ban strikes against public policies. Tuesday, it was modified to allow such stoppages for a maximum of 48 hours.

The educators announced that they will continue with “intermittent” protests against such projects.

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