Costa Rica shaken by rare and unruly unrest, labor strike

SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (AP) — Costa Rica has been rocked by the kind of protests rarely seen in the country in comparison with its more tumultuous Central American neighbors.

Demonstrators have protested outside the presidential residence and blockaded roads across the country to demand President Carlos Alvarado scrap a proposed fiscal reform before lawmakers.

Costa Rica's government is struggling with a deficit estimated at 7.1 percent of GDP this year, which has increased the public debt load.

A strike called by public-sector unions went into its fifth day Friday with no apparent end in sight.

Teachers union leader Melida Cedeno said protesters are "demanding no more taxes on the working class."

Alvardo called the strike "illegal" and said the fiscal changes are "the only way to avoid an imminent crisis."