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November 11th, 2013 (InsideCostaRica.com) Mass protests and strikes by both public and private labor unions, social groups, and other sectors in Costa Rica will likely cripple the country today, affecting hospitals, clinic, schools and universities, and other institutions, as well as cause serious traffic problems both in San José as well as other areas of the country.
Amongst those participating in today’s strikes and protests are the ICE workers’ union, which has announced that it will not be serving the public today; the workers union of the “Caja” Social Security System (CCSS); dock workers’ unions, teachers’ unions, taxi drivers, motorcyclist associations, and several social sector groups.
Many primary and secondary school students and university students should not expect to be taught class today, teachers’ unions announced earlier. Taxi drivers and motorcyclists associations also plan to cause traffic disruptions in key areas of the capital city and throughout the country. Dock and port workers are also on strike, which has resulted in a cruise ship that was scheduled to dock in Limon with 2,000 passengers on board to scratch Costa Rica from its itinerary.
Also among the groups protesting will be the National Medical Union, though a representative said some staff would still tend to emergencies at the country’s hospitals.
Traffic police will be closing many streets in downtown San José surrounding planned demonstrations.
One group of taxi drivers plans to obstruct traffic between La Sabana and Escazu.
Amongst the issues sparking today’s strikes and protests are electric rates, proposed new taxes, a plan to privatize some health services, and the granting of a concession to expand the Moin Container Terminal to Dutch firm, APM Terminals, amongst other issues. Demonstrations are expected throughout San José and others areas of the country.
Some 150 police officers will be dispersed throughout San José to monitor the demonstrations. Many more will tend to demonstrations in other areas of the country.
President Laura Chinchilla said via her Facebook page that today’s protests are “unjustified and irresponsible” and intended to intimidate the next government.