Spotty Street Closings All Over Town - Mostly SUNTRACS
Thursday, September 04 2008 @ 04:38 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - I went out to talk to the protesters this morning. Most of them were construction workers from the SUNTRACS labor union. University students closed down Transistmica briefly but by the time I got there, they had already returned to the campus and the street was open. I heard on RPC Radio that the protesters were gathering in front of the Public Ministry on Ave. Peru so I headed over there. Upon arrival there were only about 100 or so guys hanging around, all with SUNTRACS flags. I spoke to a few of them, and their plan was for everyone to gather there at 12:00 noon and then to march down to the National Assembly to deliver a list of demands. Their primary bitch and complaint was the rising costs of living. (more)
Mostly Just Hanging Out In The Shade: The street was closed, and for the most part the protesters were simply lounging around in the park, trying to avoid the sun. They were waiting for the arrival of other protesters in order to begin their march toward the National Assembly building.
Reinforcements Coming: This group of SUNTRACS workers was marching toward Ave Peru down Via España, past the El Carmen church but before arriving at the gas station near La Cresta.
A Different Group: Also SUNTRACS - heading down Via España, this time in front of the Plaza Concordia shopping center. Once again, on their way to join the gathering at Ave. Peru.
Very Light Traffic: It seems that most people stayed home today if they could. Traffic around Panama City was very light, probably because this strike was announced like two or three weeks ago and everyone knew it was coming. I don't think people stayed home to support the strike so much as they stayed home to avoid the possibility of getting mixed up in some kind of problem. From what I could see about 95% of the protesters were SUNTRACS construction workers, and a very small group (like, maybe 10) kids from the university shut down the street for a little while. There have been reports from other parts of Panama where people have been supporting the strike, like in Colon, Veraguas, etc.
A List of Demands: The guy I spoke to in front of the Public Ministry said they would be marching to the National Assembly where they would present a list of demands that included the resignation of the Minister of Government and Justice Daniel Delgado Diamante. In reality these guys are just the same perennial ankle-biters who do everything they can to disrupt, cause problems, and make the government look bad. They are not really affiliated with any political group or movement beyond the "far left" - meaning their ideology comes from Cuba and Hugo Chavez. This element has existed in Latin America for generations.
Copyright 2008, Text and Photos by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.