Update (11:50 a.m.): The Public Security Ministry (MSP) will continue clearing roadblocks throughout Friday, it announced.
• Police will remove and confiscate license plates from vehicles that are obstructing public roads. This has “the aim of allowing citizens the right to free transit after recalling that blocking national routes is illegal.”
• Interventions Thursday night and early Friday morning cleared 14 blockade points.
• Blockades currently remain in 33 points in the national territory with an estimated 1,200 people demonstrating.
• The government “recalls its willingness to dialogue with the leaders of the movements as long as the demonstrations that have already caused millions in losses in the productive sector are ceased.”
Our original story follows…
The Public Security Ministry (MSP) intervened late Thursday night and early Friday morning to clear roadblocks on several important Costa Rican roads, authorities reported.
MSP teams enabled through traffic on Route 27, Route 32, Route 2 (by Pérez Zeledón), Route 34 and Route 1 to Guanacaste, according to Teletica.
Despite the police action, protesters continued to block some roads Friday. Teletica reported affectation on Route 27 (near Atenas), in Sarchí and in Dominical.
Authorities did not immediately respond to questions about whether they would clear these new blockades.
Protesters are expressing their displeasure about Costa Rica’s negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), from which the country has requested a $1.75 billion loan.
The Presidency says the financial support is necessary to prevent an economic crisis. Critics, meanwhile, argue the loan is not needed, and that the country should instead prioritize cost-cutting measures and closing tax loopholes.
While the protest movement initially hoped to only punish exporters and importers “who are the ones who do not pay taxes,” according to a group leader, the blockades have caused road congestion at various points in Costa Rica.
The National Tourism Chamber (CANATUR) has asked that protesters lift roadblocks “to avoid cancellation of reservations and scheduled activities” during the upcoming weekend.