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Tuesday, September 02 2014 @ 02:50 AM EDT

Papadimitriu Talks With Bus Drivers - Clashes With Riot Police In Progress

Protests & Demonstrations
Demetrio 'Jimmy' Papadimitriu - Panama's Minister of the Presidency
Demetrio 'Jimmy' Papadimitriu - Panama's Minister of the Presidency
The Minister of the Presidency, Demetrio Papadimitriu, appeared in Los Andes where bus drivers are protesting in the Northern part of the province of Panama, to ask them to reopen the roadway and to make contact with the protesters in order to find a solution to their complaints. The bus drivers came out during the early morning hours Wednesday, to close - using their buses parked end to end - Via Transistmica in front of the Los Andes shopping center and the entrance to San Isidro. They are complaining because they say they are not being given exonerated diesel fuel. One protester said they have been forced to buy the fuel without the subsidy for three days, so today they decided to stop providing service and to close the streets.

In this regard, the Minister acknowledged that by now (according to their strategic plan) there should not be any "Red Devils" on the streets, which is why the fuel subsidies were not included in the budget. But he said before the cameras of TVN News they are looking for mechanisms (to pay for) the subsidy, to keep those who are riding the buses from having to pay more than the 25 cent fare.

On another issue, questioned about the claims of the bus drivers who work the routes in Veranillo that they have not been paid the $25,000 compensation in order to begin the Metro Bus service in this sector - one of the areas that has had all of their documents in order and where they have not been involved in protests or other questionable actions - Minister Papadimitriu explained the process has been delayed due to problems with the feeder routes, as well as the investigations being conducted by the Public Ministry on irregularities with the compensation payments.

The bus drivers in Veranillo are also complaining about a lack of security, and they report they have been victims of theft. They said recently armed criminals entered the patio area and robbed them all at gunpoint.

At the time of this writing, it was learned that despite the presence of the Minister, there were clashes between riot police and the bus drivers. (Estrella)

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