Multiple strikes and protests make Tuesday an unusual day

A series of unrelated strikes and protests made Tuesday an unusual day in San José and the Central Valley.

Motorcyclists, mainly messengers, gathered at the Instituto Nacional de Seguros Tuesday morning to protest increases in the obligatory insurance and the road tax. Then some 100 motorcyclists descended on the San Pedro traffic circle about 6 p.m. and effectively blocked the main highway. Bus passengers were forced to continue on foot. The blockade at the peak traffic hour had impact all over the metro area. Some taxi drivers refused to carry fares in that direction.

On the San José-Caldera highway, Ruta 27, some 70 vehicles operated by Atenas residents and friends slowed traffic to a crawl Tuesday afternoon. They are protesting the imposition of a toll at the Atenas exit from the new highway.

Striking anesthesiologists said they would continue their week-long walkout again today after negotiations with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social and Casa Presidencial failed. The strike has crippled the public health system because no surgeries can be performed. President Laura Chinchilla said a team from the Caja was in Cuba recruiting replacements. She said the country also would look to Colombia for help.
Caja lawyers are expected to take legal steps today to end the strike.

Taxi drivers, as reported in A.M. Costa Rica Tuesday morning, embarked on a protest against unlicensed pirate drivers. But they generally kept their vehicles on the side of the Circunvalación and did not delay traffic as much as in previous protests.

At the Imprenta Nacional in La Uruca workers completed their sixth day of a strike over salaries. The Ministerio de Gobernación, Policía y Seguridad Pública said that the official government newspaper La Gaceta resumed publication online only. This is the publication in which new laws, proposed laws and governmental decrees are announced. Such actions do not come into force until publication.

Jorge Luis Vargas Espinoza, director general of the Imprenta Nacional, said on the Web site that the Tuesday edition had been signed digitally in .pdf format to give it legal weight. The Gaceta was on the Gobierno Digital Web site and those visiting the normal site were redirected automatically. He said in a press release that the government was seeking a private contractor to continue publishing the Gaceta.

Printing plant workers are seeking an additional 5 percent in salary and an increase from eight to 20 years of their payoff if they should leave or are retired. The workers would get a month’s pay for each year.

Downtown during the day opponents of the La Crucita open pit gold mine in northern Costa Rica marched from the Plaza de la Cultura to the supreme court building to vent their anger over a scandal in which a high court magistrate is accused of slipping a draft of a proposed decision to representatives of the mining company.

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