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Police arrest demonstrators during a protest against the entry of Nicaraguans seeking refuge at a park in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, 18 August 2018. The protest ended in riots and several people being detained. EPA-EFE/JEFFREY ARGUEDAS
Police arrest demonstrators during a protest against the entry of Nicaraguans seeking refuge at a park in downtown San Jose, Costa Rica, 18 August 2018. The protest ended in riots and several people being detained. EPA-EFE/JEFFREY ARGUEDAS

Costa Rican president denounces hatred amid wave of Nicaraguan immigrants

President Carlos Alvarado's statement came one day after hundreds of Costa Ricans held a protest in San Jose against Nicaraguan immigrants. The demonstration…

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The president of Costa Rica on Sunday called on the Costa Rican population to be sensible and prudent against the messages of hatred towards immigrants, which led to a violent demonstration against Nicaraguans on Saturday.

"In the face of calls for hatred or violence, good sense, prudence, intelligence and solidarity must prevail. In that effort we need you, and all the people of the country," President Carlos Alvarado said on television.

The president called for "calm and peace," and asked his people to act with prudence and not to be provoked.

"Let's be well informed. Each person plays a fundamental role in the conservation of social peace which we Costa Ricans have built for decades and which we enjoy today," he added.

Alvarado's statement came one day after hundreds of Costa Ricans held a protest in San Jose against Nicaraguan immigrants. The demonstration turned violent, with 44 people detained and Molotov cocktails, knives and machetes seized.

Costa Rican authorities have not given detailed numbers of the Nicaraguans who have entered Costa Rica during the last four months of crisis in Nicaragua, although they have received more than 20,000 refugee applications so far.

The unprecedented protest on Aug. 18 has been condemned by the government, the Office of the Ombudsman and the UN representation in Costa Rica.

At least eight percent of Costa Rica's population is immigrants, most of them are Nicaraguans.

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