Higüey strike snarls resort traffic, tourist excursions
Higuey, Dominican Republic.- Nine out of every 10 business shuttered and transport halted to and from La Altagracia province are the preliminary result of a 48 hour strike organized by some 25 groups including the often violent FALPO and the labor union CASC.
The strike leaders demand street repairs, a direct road from Higuey to the Coral highway, and to finish the work on the aqueduct and the provincial hospital, among other grievances.
Police agents and troops equipped with rifles and tear gas have been deployed along the major roads, bridges and gas stations to keep them open to traffic and prevent property damage.
Some incidents have been reported around five kilometers from town on the Coral highway early Tuesday with tires set afire, keeping employees from several hotels from getting to work.
Protesters also hurled bottles, steel barbs and branches with nails which blew out the tires of several vehicles, but Public Works Ministry crews quickly cleaned the road to restore traffic.
Public buses weren’t circulating at the Bavaro-Veron-Punta Cana area, but the strikers didn’t interfere with the private service of the hotels. Although sea excursions weren’t affected, overland outings were suspended to avert risk to tourists.
Local business leaders of Higuey and Veron slam the call to strike, considering it inappropriate while Dominican Republic’s tourism is under attack from boycotts abroad.