Protesting parents and kids cause more traffic chaos

For the third time this week citizens blocked a main highway to press their complaints

This time it was parents and even their school children who blocked traffic Thursday morning on the Autopista General Cañas. The blockade of the westbound lanes was highly effective and froze traffic for miles around. Tourists heading to Juan Santamaría airport also were caught up in the jam.

The parents were complaining about the condition of their children’s school. It is on a hillside along the Río Virilla, and the hillside is giving away.
The blockade took place in La Uruca at a point on the highway known as Rositel Carballo.

Mario Zamora Cordero, the security minister, was critical and said that the adults used their children as shields. He noted that the police have the obligation to insure free transit, but officers took no action Thursday morning. Eventually the parents agreed to a meeting with a representative of the Ministerio de Educación Pública. The blockade ended about 11:30 a.m.

The parents were well behaved, although they did
show signs that said the school was falling down.

The protest was unlike the one Tuesday on the Caribbean coast where protesters fired on police and threw firebombs and rocks. They also burned tires in three places on Ruta 56 in the vicinity of Puerto Viejo and Cahuita. They were protesting the demolition of two local hotels that have been confiscated over environmental problems.

Residents of Los Guidos also protested this week because they had been without water for seven days.

Last week striking union workers at hospitals and clinics blocked a number of highways.

Blocking highways became a fine art during the Abel Pacheco administration when those protesting the free trade treaty with the United States and other issues, shut down traffic four time. Licensed taxi drivers and their unlicensed brethren, the portadores, have repeatedly blocked traffic in a long-running dispute over who should have the rights to carry passengers. In some cases the drivers blocked highways with their vehicles.

Such blockades are illegal under Costa Rican law, but police seldom take action.

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