Hundreds of merchants, farmers, transporters, tourism entrepreneurs and fishermen marched Tuesday in the Costa Rican capital to demand for a greater opening of economic activity, noting the difficulties many sectors face due to restrictions meant to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The protesters crossed the center of San José until they reached Casa Presidencial in Zapote (southeast of the city). Their agenda included demands for economic reactivation, an end to vehicle restrictions and a law against corruption.
The so-called Movimiento Rescate Nacional (National Rescue Movement), made up of political leaders, also called for the strengthening of the Costa Rican Social Security System, which manages the country’s public hospitals.
“We are going through difficult times with the pandemic,” said David Duarte, who joined other river tour operators in arriving to the demonstration with an oar.
The tourism sector is among the most affected by the measures against COVID-19 due to the closure of borders since March. This has been partially reversed in recent weeks, and starting next month, Costa Rica will welcome tourists from select U.S. states.
For his part, Esteban Rivera, a fisherman, demanded that the government eliminate restrictions on fishing, particularly shrimp, which is regulated to allow for the reproduction of the species.
Behind him, one of his colleagues unfurled a banner demanding “no more lies to the fishing sector.”
Former deputy Célimo Guido, one of the organizers of the march, said that the protesters would remain in front of Casa Presidencial until their demands were heard by the government.
Costa Rica, with 5 million inhabitants, has accumulated more than 35,000 cases of COVID-19 and 376 deaths.