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Wednesday, July 30 2014 @ 03:00 AM EDT

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The Riot Control Police Have Figured It Out in Panama

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Well placed sources in the Panamanian National Police department have explained why they continue to hold hundreds of construction workers who were arrested this week in running battles with riot control police. The National Police have changed their tactics and are deploying new technology to maintain public order. In these most recent clashes one of the newest tools they have employed are high resolution video cameras operated by police officers who were recording videotape specifically intended to be used as evidence in later court proceedings. You see, throwing cement blocks from the tenth floor at riot police can be considered attempted homicide. (more)

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"Bad Behavior" Program Acting Up

What is PG?

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - For some reason one of the programs I used to keep the spammers at bay has been acting up lately. I've gotten complaints from a couple of users that they've been blocked from accessing the website. If you get a "412 Precondition Failed" error message then let me know. If you send me your IP address I will remove you from the list and open the door again. Now, I have to figure out exactly what happened to flip the switch - techno geek stuff. In any case, my apologies for any inconveniences.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Hundreds fo SUNTRACS Protesters Arrested

Protests & Demonstrations La Prensa - Panama's National Police have changed their strategy. Unlike last Wednesday when they National Police only tried to contain the actions of the striking construction workers which overflowed several times, yesterday police officers restrained, persecuted and arrested the protesters in the construction sites where they took refuge. It was the third consecutive day of protests in the capital, and SUNTRACS workers concentrated from the early morning hours along Transístmica, Ave. Balboa, Via Israel and Paitilla. In the last two places the skirmishes were extensive. The Red Cross reported 19 people were injured, and the police confirmed the arrest of 473 workers. Four of these were foreigners who were working in the country illegally and who will be deported. (more)
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Panama workers, police clash; hundreds arrested

Protests & Demonstrations PANAMA CITY, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Nearly 300 protesters were arrested in Panama on Friday as construction workers clashed with police for the third day running over the shooting death of a fellow worker earlier this week. A dozen police were injured in Friday's protest, which kept much of the capital paralyzed, with piles of tires burning on busy roads and highways across the city. Police reported 286 arrests, bringing the number of people detained since Tuesday to around 780, police said. Protesters also threw stones at riot police in the affluent Paitilla area of the city, home to many of Panama's glass-covered skyscrapers, local television images showed. It was the latest in a series of clashes since the fatal shooting of a construction worker from the SUNTRACS union during a demonstration on Tuesday over safety conditions. (more)
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Panama gun riot hits 007 filming

EntertainmentThe Sun - RIOTERS have hit the filming of the new James Bond movie. Daniel Craig stars as 007 in Quantum of Solace which is being made near the Presidential Palace in Panama City, Panama. But roads were closed by violent protests after police shot dead a union member. A spokesman for film-maker EON Productions said: “None of the cast has been harmed. We hope filming can go ahead now.”
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Night of the Living Dead - Part Deux

Internet & Technology

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Like a Zombie from the "Night of the Living Dead" Okke Ornstein has returned. Ornstein took his "Noriegaville" website off line a few months ago and was supposedly gone for good. He used his website to actively and habitually slander and defame other members of the English speaking community in Panama. In my book if you're going publicly allege someone is a pedophile then you damn well better have some solid proof or a copy of a conviction in your hands. Ornstein made that very public and incredibly irresponsible accusation against another member of the community simply because the guy is a friend of mine. I tried to ignore his obsessive rants for more than three years but then he crossed the line. As a result myself and others filed a series of criminal complaints against him for defamation and slander, all of which are still pending in the Panamanian legal system. In response he took his Noriegaville website offline in a legally defensive move. Well guess what? He's back, just like a bad burrito... (more)

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A Sign of the Times - Huge Hooter Mannequin

Entertainment

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As a responsible and serious investigative journalist it's my duty to remain alert and observant for changes in the environment and to make note of those important changes. For instance - recently more women have been choosing to have elective surgery. And apparently they buy their swim wear in this place. Most guys won't admit it but we're actually closet mannequin fans. Yeah, it's dumb, and it's a guy thing - but there they are. And these are the biggest hooters I've ever seen on a female mannequin in my entire life. I mean, you can't miss these puppies. If you want you can see for yourself at the Multicentro, third floor (I think.) This has been a community service announcement. (more)

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New Riot Control Vehicles Take a Beating - First Time Out

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The Panamanian National Police Unidad de Control de Multitudes (UCM) (Riot Control Unit) recently purchased a new fleet of Ford F350 vehicles especially hardened for riot control duty. These most recent confrontations with striking construction workers were the first time they've had a reason to put them to use. And, they really took a beating. Several of the vehicles had serious damage from the rocks and debris the construciton workers were throwing at the police. At least it was the machines taking the damage and not the officers. (more) (Videos Follow)

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Riots in Panama Affect Tourists in Paitilla

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Tourists visiting Panama had a front-row seat for confrontations between rioting construction workers from the Sindicato Único Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Construcción y Similares (SUNTRACS) and the Panamanian National Police Unidad de Control de Multitudes (UCM) (Riot Control Police) in Paitilla this morning. There were running battles in front of the Plaza Paitilla Inn all morning, with protesters throwing rocks and police returning fire with tear gas and rubber bullets. Eventually the UCM gained the upper hand and arrested some 350 striking workers. (more) (Videos Follow)

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Live Update from Inside the Negotiations - 10:55 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Now this is very telling; these are the demands of the SUNTRACS labor union leaders who are now meeting with government officials in the offices of the Defensoria del Pueblo on Calle 50:

  • First Point: Eliminate all "yellow unions" (in other words, all of the construction labor unions that are not SUNTRACS).

  • Second Point: Improve Safety and Security for construction workers.

  • Third Point: Lower the cost of living.

  • Fourth Point: Increase the minimum wage.

And There You Have It: What these guys really care about is maintaining their position as "the" construction labor union in Panama. They are losing their position rapidly as builders are starting to understand how to manage their labor force in a way that keeps SUNTRACS at bay, and at the same time keeping their workers happy, safe, and productive. All of this SUNTRACS *bullshit* is actually just about them fighting to keep their position as the "most important" construction union in the Republic of Panama. In their own brains they think that they are, but in fact most of the people working in construction today are not members of SUNTRACS. There are large projects all over the country that are being built by other people who are not SUNTRACS - specifically the extension of the Northern Corridor, the expansion of Ave. Balboa, and the work being done to expand the Panama Canal. All of the other stuff (safety, cost of living, wages) are just the salt and pepper to give them a reason for starting problems in the first place. SUNTRACS has a fundamental problem - their leadership took a hard turn to the left and their labor union turned into a political organization. Their organization has been steadily losing rank and file members ever since. Basically, what we are witnessing here is the slow death of SUNTRACS which will continue over a period of time, maybe years. They just shot what little wad they had left. They really don't have much left in them. The game is basically over, and thanks for playing.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Reader Sit-Rep and Update from Paitilla - 10:52 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Another situation report (sit-rep) from a reader in Paitilla - "Don, Police are forming in lg numbers to approach The Pointe project, which is at end of deadend street. Workers are all on upper floors and starting to rain bricks, bags of cement and other debris down. A very, very dangerous situation!! Riot police are approaching under the covered entrances to Punta Roca and the Peninsula bldgs...." Thanks. Keep 'em coming. I'm heading out to get some photos.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Police Keeping Streets Closed - 10:01 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Right now Transistmica and Via Israel remain closed - blocked by the police units that were just fighting with construction workers awhile ago to reopen them. Apparently they want to make sure there is no more potential for problems before they give up the ground they've won to surrender the streets back to the public. The wounded construction worker who was taken out of the project on Via Israel has arrived at a CSS health clinic in San Francisco.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Either It's Over, or It's The Eye Of The Storm - 9:54 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Right now it looks like the riot police strategy of entering into the construction sites to arrest everyone throwing stones and blocking streets is working. They have managed to reopen most of the city to traffic. There are no reports of conflicts right now, and it appears the police have simply decided not to confront the workers in Punta Pacifica that have closed the Southern Corridor. At this moment there is a period of calm as the SUNTRACS leadership meets with the Labor Minister and CAPAC at the Defensoria del Pueblo on Calle 50.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Paitilla and Winston Churchill Sit-Rep - 9:44 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here's a situation report (sit-rep) from a reader: "Winston Churchill is blocked by police. A bus just took away some 20-25 arrestees. Traffic is moving but very light on Balboa. Workers at The Pointe building have retreated back to their site from areas around Paitilla Inn. No sign of police presence near the bldg as yet." Got it, thanks... (For now I'm keeping everyone who sends in updates anonymous until and unless you let me know otherwise.)

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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SUNTRACS Leaders Now in Defensoria del Pueblo

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Right now the leadership of the SUNTRACS labor union have arrived at the offices of the Defensoria del Pueblo on Calle 50 to meet with representatives from the Panamanian government and the Panamanian Construction Board (CAPAC.) The Defensoria del Pueblo is a human rights organization designed to protect the rights of citizens who accuse the government of violating their rights. The SUNTRACS leadership has a list of ten demands they will present to the government reps.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Expect College Students and CSS Later on Transistmica

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - If this goes the way it did on Wednesday, then later today university students and the administrative workers from the Office of Social Security will come out later to close Transistmica near the University of Panama. That has not happened yet, but it most likely will.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Internal Lines of Communication - 9:22 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The protesting SUNTRACS workers are using "internal lines of communication" to successfully out maneuver riot police in the area of Paitilla somewhat. The police go one way, and they go the other. On TVN 2 a viewer called in with a report and wanted to know why the police don't have a helicopter to be able to get an overview of the city to be better able to identify, find, and arrest the people who are coordinating the actions of the protesters on the ground. Good question...

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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One Construction Worker Injured on Via Israel - 9:16 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Apparently the situation on Via Israel near the Atlapa Convention Center has been brought under control by riot police. There was one construction worker taken out of the building with injuries to his head and leg. The rest of the people in that particular building had already been arrested and taken away. Conflicts continue in the area of the Plaza Paitilla Inn on Winston Churchill Ave. About 30 workers have been arrested in that area, and the tension has gone down somewhat.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Still No Response in Punta Pacifica - 9:09 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Protesters in Punta Pacifica remain in control of the Southern Corridor and the highway is closed. So far police riot control units have not responded to the area and there have been no conflicts between police and protesters. This is the part of the city closed reflected in the pictures I just posted from a reader.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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A Few Pictures from Punta Pacifica

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Here are a few photos sent in by a reader from the area of Punta Pacifica showing the Southern Corridor closed, with no police presence. The most recent report indicates riot police might be starting to arrive in the area.

(Photos Below)

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Transistmica from San Miguelito Now Reopened - 8:57 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - The strikes and protests are calming down and streets are being reopened in some areas. There is a huge traffic jam of people who were caught trying to get to work and that is just now starting to get untangled. Many people have already spent more than 2 hours sitting in their cars.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Southern Corridor Still Closed - No Police Response Yet 8:51 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Approximately 100 protesting SUNTRACS workers in the area of Punta Pacifica have blocked the Southern Corridor. Using the same tactics they used two days ago, they have pushed some of the heavy cement dividing blocks into the different lanes of the road. So far there has been no response from riot police, and the workers are just basically sitting around waiting for them. (Thanks for the update.)

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Please Send Quick Updates Via Email - And Thanks...

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - When these kinds of situations develop please just blast me short little updates via email with a quick description of what you can see from your "perch" even if it's "all quiet." I just need to know about where you live (neighborhood) and what you can see. If there is some kind of action or conflict try to grab some pictures and send them. If I don't get right back to you don't worry about it, and just keep the info coming and I'll turn it around. And, thanks again, guys. (You know who you are...)

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Bird Shot, Rubber Bullers, Tear Gas, and Zipcuffs - 8:39 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Panamanian riot police are demonstrating their newest tactics to respond to these kinds of protests. When the protesting construction workers pull back into the building (where they were supposed to be working), the riot police penetrate the circumference of the building and secure the ground floor. Then they go up the building and clear it floor by floor, shooting tear gas, bird shot, and rubber bullets as they go. Once the workers give up, they are arrested and hauled away to be processed. This is exactly what they just did to control the situation near Atlapa. The riot police forces are in their most exposed position as they approach the building and before they penetrate the security circumference of the building because the construction workers can rain bricks down on their heads from above. Once they are inside in force it's basically game over. Two days ago there was video of a police truck ramming the gate of the Vista Mar construction site on Ave Balboa - they were trying to create an access point to get their troops inside to clear out that building.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Short Protest Near Coronado

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Protesting construction workers closed the InterAmerican Highway near the entrance to the Coronado Beach Resort for about 20 minutes early this morning. As soon as police units arrived they pulled back and the road was reopened. This occurred at about 6:45 am this morning.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Police Making Arrests Near Atlapa - 8:27 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Riot Police have entered the job site that was a point of conflict on Via Israel near the Atlapa Convention Center and are making arrests. Striking construction workers started off by blocking the streets but then they retreated to the construction site and started raining down bricks on police from the higher floors. Police units have managed to get into the building and are arresting the striking workers.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Striking Construction Workers Shut Down Panama City, Again

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Rioting construction workers from the Sindicato Único Nacional de Trabajadores de la Industria de la Construcción y Similares (SUNTRACS) (Single National Union of the Construction Industry and Similar Workers) have shut down Panama City in the Republic of Panama again today, the second time this week. The SUNTRACS workers are protesting the shooting death of Al Iromi Emoir Smith Rentería near the Hugo Spadafora Medical Clinic in Colón on Tuesday. Smith was shot and killed by a member of the Panamanian National police in a conflict between protesters and police that is now being investigated.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Riot Police Holding Actions All Over The City - 8:15

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - As the SUNTRACS construction workers come down from their projects and close streets, the National Police move their units internally from one location to another. Once the SUNTRACS demonstrators have elicited a response they pull back, withdrawal from the confrontation, and go back into the building. Then, when another area of the city flares up the riot police redeploy to the next trouble area. So, that's the overview. The SUNTRACS guys can coordinate their activity with cell phones - "you guys start, you guys stop..." and in that way they keep the initiative and are able to keep the riot police off balance.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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Going Up The Hill to the Plaza Paitilla Inn - 8:11 am

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Now construction workers are exchanging rocks for tear gas near a construction project in Paitilla. The confrontation is occurring right in front of the entrance to the Plaza Paitilla Inn in Paitilla. The police are "down the hill" toward Ave Balboa, and the striking workers have the high ground and are throwing rocks and bottles down toward the riot police officers. The riot police have just reinforced the area with more police units.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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How To Get Email Updates from Panama-Guide

Protests & Demonstrations

By DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - If you want to receive real-time email updates from Panama Guide, just hit this link and join that Yahoo! email group. The group is only used to broadcast Panama-Guide articles and not for discussion so it's not a discussion group. Please send this link or article to your friends who might be interested in getting the updates, and sorry, but I simply don't have time to attend individual requests for adds or address changes. Thanks for understanding.

Copyright 2008 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Salud.

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