About 100 women on the weekend nursed their babies in public in this capital to protest the decision by a Costa Rican shopping center to prohibit one of their number from doing so last week.

The women staged their unusual protest in the food court area of the Lincoln Plaza shopping center in eastern San Jose, dubbing their protest a "mamaton" (nurse-in) after it was organized on the social media networks.

The situation arose last weekend when Patricia Barrantes began nursing her baby at the shopping center and a private security guard told her that doing so was prohibited in public but there was a special area set aside at the mall for that kind of activity.

Barrantes, whose story became public last Monday when her sister-in-law published a complaint in a local newspaper, told reporters on Saturday that the representatives of the mall apologized for what had occurred and thanked the women for coming together to support her with the nurse-in.

The mall's representatives, who allowed the protest to take place, said in a communique that making use of the special lactation room at the commercial center is optional and it is intended to provide comfort for nursing mothers.

They also said that breastfeeding babies in public was never prohibited and that the security officer had made a mistake.

The state-run National Women's Institute visited the mall this past week to inspect the lactation facility and to inform the management that mothers are allowed to nurse their babies anywhere they like. EFE