At least 17 migrant transits were detained on Thursday afternoon and evening after clashing with police on the southern border of Costa Rica, the Ministry of Public Security reported on Friday.
The detainees are Venezuelan migrants who are in the town of Paso Canoas, about 300 km south of San José, on the border with Panama, where they arrive after crossing the dangerous Darién jungle that separates Colombia and Panama.
The disturbances occurred after police confiscated food and drinks that migrants were selling informally within the makeshift camp set up by Costa Rican authorities since May.
They arrive there after crossing the border and can only leave by paying $30 per person (including minors) to access a ticket for one of the 50 daily buses that take them to the northern border with Nicaragua.
Public Security Minister Mario Zamora said in a video distributed to the press that “migration legislation will be strictly enforced” with those involved in the disturbances.
Some migrants threw stones at police and briefly blocked access to the precarious grounds, located in an old fairground, where many are stranded for weeks without money to pay for the bus.
A record of more than 248,000 migrants have crossed the inhospitable Panamanian jungle so far this year, more than in all of 2022, according to the Panamanian government.
Of these, just over 204,000 have entered Costa Rica through Paso Canoas after traveling almost 1,000 kilometers through Panamanian territory, according to official figures.
Zamora warned that he will meet on Friday with Panamanian authorities to make decisions regarding the migrant flow heading to the United States.
He also added that police reinforcements were deployed in the area where the disturbances occurred.