Squatters In Clash With Police In Pavas

At least 38 people were detained, 17 of which were minors, and 10 injured yesterday in a clash between police and residents of Pavas in an action to remove some 150 families squatting on municipal property, in Rincon Grande de Pavas.

Armed with rocks and with precision aim, the squatters pelted the some 400 police officers sent to control the situation while municipal officials carried out the evictions.

The disturbance began in the early hours of the morning to remove some 70 families of squatters who decided to make the local public park their home after last week’s eviction of their shanty homes.

The squatters, the majority young, appeared organized and ready for the clash.

Police responded with tear gas which resulted in the injury of 12 municipal police and 3 Fuerza Pública officers during the skirmish.

The Cruz Roja (Red Cross) reported that the police officials suffered injuries from rocks thrown at them, which were treated at the Pavas clinic nearby.

In the end, police were able to regain control of the public park and by 3pm, about the time Pavas was inundated with a rain storm, the uprising was calmed and the 38 individuals detained taken to the Tribunales de Justicia where they will face charges of public disorder and disobedience.

The police action, with little violence, also evicted some 80 families from the nearby area known as Metrópolis 2 and public areas of Libertad 1 and 2, Managüita and Los Laureles.

Rafael Arias Fallas, assistant to San José mayor, Johnny Araya, explained that the squatters had divided up the Rincon Grande park into 240 individual lots, which municipal authorities believe they were going to be sold or leased out to others.

Heavy machinery was used remove debris from the impromptu construction of „ranchos“ and create mounds to avoid reconstruction by the squatters.

Local retailers and businesses decided to close for the day during the disturbances in fears of rioting and looting.

http://insidecostarica.com/dailynews/2009/september/12/cr01.htm