Dominican Republic walkout snarls commute, tourism activities
Higuey, Dominican Republic.- Higuey’s schools, businesses and transport came to a grinding halt at the seat of eastern La Altagracia province, from a shutdown called by neighborhood boards who demand the conclusion of the aqueduct , a hospital and the closing of the local jail where more than 10 inmates have died.
They also demand street repairs, the cleanup of makeshift trash dumps and a bridge over the Duey river to link Higuey with the town Villa Cerro.
Local reports tell of a desolate city with only moto-taxis and police officers on the main streets.
There’s no bus service on the Higuey-Santo Domingo route, or from Punta Cana Airport to the Bavaro tourist area, where protesters only allow the transfer of tourists from the airport to hotels. Tours have also been canceled on safety concerns.
Since early Thursday residents awoke to torched tires, garbage hurled to the streets and reports of several arrests.
Henry Santos, spokespersons for the residents of Villa Cerro, said they’ll continue their struggle until the Government and the City Council address their demands.
National Police chief Manuel Castro met for two hours Wednesday night with Higuey bishop Nicanor Peña, Hotels Association president Ernesto Veloz and governor Ramón Guilamo Alfonzo to plan ways to prevent violence, but neighborhood representatives who attended the meeting warned they want solutions, not talk.