Protesters blocked border crossings across the country on Thursday, October 8, as demonstrations in opposition to an agreement between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) continued for the eighth consecutive day. Demonstrators have set up some 20 blockade points across the country, including the crossing with Panama at Paso Canoas and the Peñas Blancas crossing with Nicaragua. Protesters also gathered in Paquita (Puntarenas province), where demonstrators reportedly threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police. As of Thursday, at least 60 people have been arrested and over 100 police officers have been injured in incidents relating to the unrest.
The protests are likely to continue and operations by security forces to remove roadblocks are to be expected. Further clashes between law enforcement officers and demonstrators cannot be ruled out.
Protests erupted on September 30, over Costa Rica's request to the IMF for a USD1.75 billion loan. The government argues that the loan is necessary to prevent an economic crisis, whilst critics claim that the loan will be crippling and the country should instead focus on cost-cutting measures and closing tax loopholes. As part of the demonstrations, protesters erected roadblocks along major routes across the country, including in and around San José. Altercations between security forces and demonstrators have been reported during the protests.
Those in Costa Rica are advised to monitor the situation, avoid associated demonstrations, anticipate overland travel disruptions, and heed instructions issued by local authorities.
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