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Monday, September 23 2019 @ 01:25 pm EDT

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Riot Police Shoot Pepper Spray To Protesters In Caimitillo

Protests & DemonstrationsRiot control officers of the National Police used pepper spray against protesters to reopen the road in Caimitillo, and the protesters responded by throwing objects.

The local residents protested by closing the road from the early hours of the morning, protesting over a lack of drinking water, a problem they have been confronting for the past 15 days.

Even though the police continued to negotiate with the protesters to reopen the road without any incidents having to happen, due to the refusal of the villagers, the riot police had to respond by firing pepper spray, according to reports by Hellen Concepción of TVN.

Among the protesters, there are women and children who were affected by the pepper spray released by the police. (TVN)

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Metro Bus Riders Close Road In Albrook - Riot Control Police Respond

Protests & DemonstrationsBecause of the lack of Metro Buses, users of this public transport blocked the road in the Terminal of Albrook in today's early morning hours.

The situation was reported at 12:15 am when the terminal was full of people waiting for Metro Buses and they claimed that the buses arrived and placed themselves as "In Transit".

The people said they had been waiting over an hour and a half for a specific Metro Bus which takes a specific route. That's what they told the National Police units that arrived there, because by closing the road, the Metro Buses could not pass through and had to turn around to try to get out on the street backwards.

Costumers of route Tumba Muerto - Mañanita said there were no buses since 10:30 pm.

Police officers, like putting out a fire, contacted the supervisors of the Mi Bus company, and they immediately sent buses because the situation would get out of control.

"Every day it's the same nightmare," is what a lady told an officer.

This is not the first protest with road closure in Albrook due to poor service of the Metro Bus. The same thing happened last month, Thursday, February 7th and the police also got there. (Estrella)

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Conflict And Repression Due To Lack Of Water

Protests & DemonstrationsOnce again, clashes arise between residents of Cabra and riot units of the National Police, which prevent the main road to be closed.

Residents of Santa Rita, El Trébol and Los Jardines, located in east Panama, have united in the fight against the lack of water.

The police sprayed tear gas against the protesters to control and prevent public disorder.

The protesters indicated that the "Government pays the village with police repression because of the mere fact of claiming water permanently."

The homeowners also feel cheated because the real estate company promised water for 24 hours.

IDAAN reaches an answer

Although the IDAAN made their point, the residents do not feel satisfied with the explanations given.

Abiliio Pittí, metropolitan director of the Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers (IDAAN), said that the answer is to deliver water through tanker trucks.

He added that they are waiting on the promoters of the neighborhoods because they said they would install a pumping plant, but, besides that, he also noticed that there are problems at the water plant of Cabra. (Critica)

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Rice Farmers Negotiating With Government

Protests & DemonstrationsThe Association of Rice Producers of Chiriquí achieved some partial agreements yesterday with the Minister of Agriculture, Óscar Osorio Casal.

Their demands include a defined control and efficient import, security of a healthy market and a fair price, resolve the problems of sales, funds for the ISA, support for the farmers with losses in 2012 due to climate change, and support for the Apach to investigate the implementation and management of credit facilities with the National Bank of Panama.

The rice farmers gave Osorio a vote of confidence, who will meet up with them on Thursday at the Mida headquarters, in David, to specify what was agreed on the list of demands. (Dia A Dia)

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Rice Farmers On Alert Despite Agreements

Protests & DemonstrationsA group of producers (farmers) of rice and other grains in the province of Chiriquí remain on alert, despite having achieved a preliminary agreement with the Minister of Agriculture, Oscar Osorio.

Gabriel Araúz, representative of the Rice Producers in Chiriquí, said tomorrow he scheduled a meeting with the participation of Minister Osorio and other ministers, to verify the strategy to stabilize the sector of agriculture.

Araúz said there are urgent issues to be resolved in the agricultural sector such as:

- Access to financing through soft interest loans.

- Suspension of imports of rice and other grains that have not favored the consumers.

- Use of technology and modernization in the harvesting and production process.

The spokesman said the group hopes for good intentions on the part of the government, however, before any promises, they must act immediately to revive agricultural activities which has been facing crisis in the past few years. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: OK, so they want the government to make new loans available, suspend rice imports from the United States, and modernize their processes and equipment. The second two points are not going to happen. These guys are still in denial, and they are apparently insisting on their plan to keep being rice farmers, despite changing market conditions in which they are no longer competitive. Bad plan.

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Dismissed Firemen's Request For Reconsideration Was Denied

Protests & DemonstrationsThe request for reconsideration filed by two firemen who were fired after protests last month was denied.

The two fire fighters - Cruz Gómez and Raúl Marshall - who have been on a hunger strike for the past 16 days, were fired for participating on 13 March 2013 in clashes with riot control officers of the National Police, when the firefighters were protesting for higher wages.

Gómez, a spokesman for the protesting firemen, said officials of the institution did not comply with the proper administrative processes.

Gabriel Gómez, president of the firefighters association, said they will be filing a complaint with the Third Division of Administrative Litigation of the Supreme Court.

Gómez announced that the other nine firefighters who were dismissed be served individually, to determine what kind of penalty will apply.

We attempted to obtain a statement from Pablo Tuñón, director of the fire department, but he did not return the calls. (Siglo)

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Students Protest Again And Are Detained

Protests & DemonstrationsA group of students from the Instituto Nacional armed with stones, gasoline and a board as a barricade, came out to protest against the Metrobus service this morning, Tuesday, April 2, for the second time.

According to reports, minutes after the situation became tense, the students reached clashes with crowd control units of the National Police.

It was known the events of today that about 19 students were detained by the National Police. Due to the situation on campus, the institute was closed. Education authorities are checking if the conditions are good enough for the resumption of classes. (Estrella)

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Rice Farmers Protest

Protests & DemonstrationsThe rice farmers from Chiriquí, who are members of the Rice Producers Association, came to protest today with their tractors to draw attention of authorities because of the crisis they are facing.

Rice farmers came from La Nobleza, Alanje district, to the district of David to protest outside the headquarters of the National Bank of Panama, the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) and the Governor's office.

The rice farmers presented a list of eight points to the authorities who manage the agricultural sector in order to try to revitalize the crop and grain production.

They argue that there is little support from the national government and they maintain a high debt to BNP and BDA. (Critica)

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Firemen on Hunger Strike - Will Hold A March Today

Protests & DemonstrationsWhile 21 firemen began a hunger strike yesterday, the commander of the Fire Department, Pablo Tuñón, said there has been condescension, patience and tolerance for the recurring faults of those who were fired.

Among the firefighters who are on a hunger strike at the Ricardo Arango fire station are nine who have been fired.

"We have tried to reconcile the differences in the round table, always looking for a formula of harmony, of coming to solve problems", but their behavior was inappropriate, Tuñon said.

Meanwhile, Captain Cruz Gomez announced today they will hold a march.

The firefighters insist that the directors of the institution have not complied with the agreements they reached.

However, Tuñon said he complied with 11 of the 13 points, and the only points that remain pending are repairs to the barracks and to solve the issue of food.

On this last point, Tuñon said the central government will give $1 million to address the problem, distributing the food to be prepared at the station.

As for the request for the firefighters who have been fired to be reinstated, Tuñón said they were not fired on the whim of the board, but rather in the fulfillment of the law, because of the serious offenses they committed by using state owned equipment (the fire trucks) during their protests.

"I'm here to observe and enforce the law and regulations," he said. (Critica)

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A Strike Will Start In Changuinola Tomorrow Morning at 5:00 am

Protests & DemonstrationsLeaders of about 15 organizations in the province of Bocas del Toro, announced today that they would start a strike in Changuinola at 5:00 am on Tuesday 19 March 2013.

The reason for the strike is because 15 days ago they asked the Director of the Social Security Fund Guillermo Sáenz Llorens to travel to the province to meet with the leadership to address their complaints about several strange deaths that have occurred in the hospital in Changuinola.

Another measure of pressure will be to paralyze the work of banana division and taxi service during the hours stipulated. (Dia a Dia)

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"Insubordination Cannot Be Tolerated" - Mulino

Protests & DemonstrationsStrikes, work stoppages, and protests "is a right held by those doing other activities but not by the entities of state security," said the Public Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino on Friday, reacting to clashes this week between riot control police and firemen, who used fire trucks to block roads while demanding pack pay.

According to Mulino, insubordination on the part of the members of state security entities cannot be tolerated, "and much less them bringing in fire trucks from other areas, connecting them to fire hydrants, to repel," the riot control police officers.

Mulino said these issues should be addressed at the dialog tables.

"Imagine that tomorrow, if something like this were to be allowed to happen in the public security forces. Using a pretext of a complaint over a labor issue, if the police would start a strike, and take the police cars, motorcycles, and use them to block the streets," he said.

Mulino said the current government has made great efforts to make adjustments to pay, "if there is any disagreement we can talk." (Telemetro)

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Firemen vs. Riot Control Police on Ave Cuba

Protests & DemonstrationsAbout 21 firemen were arrested yesterday afternoon after a clash with riot control officers of the National Police, when the firemen closed Ave. Cuba using their fire trucks as a form of protest.

The firemen used their fire hoses against the riot control police, who responded with tear gas and bird shot to try to disperse the crowd of protesting firemen that had gathered in front of the Agustín Arango fire station on Ave. Cuba.

The Government Minister Jorge Ricardo Fabrega said it was irresponsible for the firemen to use the fire trucks as part of their protests, and he warned they would be reported to the prosecutors of the Public Ministry. (Critica)

Editor's Comment: So, the firemen are still protesting because the government of Panama has not paid them (actually cut the checks) for promised back pay, performance bonuses, and raises. The firemen have gotten tired of waiting, so they are increasing the pressure. They came out to block the street using the fire trucks. The riot police showed up, and as normal they started shooting off tear gas canisters. The firemen responded by putting on their gas masks and fire fighting equipment, and spraying their hoses at the cops. So the cops started shooting pepper balls (from paint ball guns) and bird shot. While all of this was going on, the call came in that Albrook Mall was on fire. As the firemen were trying to disengage from the cops to respond to the fire, the police moved in and arrested 21 of the protesters. And then the fire burned all night. Of course, all of this bullshit could have been avoided if the government had just simply cut the damn checks and actually paid the firemen the money they have already promised they would pay. So no, this trip wasn't really necessary. Dumb.

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Ngäbe Buglé Indians Still Protesting Against Barro Blanco Hydro Electric Project

Protests & DemonstrationsThe situation remained tense in the Ngäbe Buglé region today.

The Indians have been holding protests since last Sunday, in demand the halt to the Barro Blanco hydro electric project, near the Tabasará river.

The protesters have alleged that they were tortured by members of the National Police, while the institution has denied these claims. (Mi Diario)

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Clash Between The Last Of The Red Devil Bus Drivers and Government Coming Friday

Protests & DemonstrationsThe entry of the Metro Bus system on nine new trunk routes in Panama City and San Miguelito on 15 March 2013 is in question.

The drivers of the old "red devil" buses who are currently still operating on these routes went to the headquarters of the Transit Authority yesterday to deliver their documents to demand the payment of the $25,000 in compensation, and they said they would not leave the system without first receiving the money.

Tomasito Lopez, leader of the bus drivers from Mano de Piedra, warned that "we will not leave the system until the government has paid every last penny."

This position, according to López, stems from the fact that there is a list of 280 former bus drivers from the routes in Pedregal, Torrijos Carter and Mano de Piedra among others, who left the system in 2011 and last year, and they still have not received compensation.

"We will leave the system if we are paid," warned Lopez yesterday, who reiterated that if they are unable to convince the ATTT to extend the deadline to complete the delivery of the documents they will close the roads in San Miguelito and in the eastern sector of the capital starting from the early morning hours of Friday, 15 March 2013.

On Monday, the director of the ATTT, Roberto Moreno, extended until today the deadline for the bus drivers to deliver the documents and records for about 700 of the old "Red Devil" buses currently operating on the trunk routes in: Veranillo, Automotor, Pacora, Concepción, San Pedro, Panamá Viejo, Alcalde Díaz, Chilibre and Ciudad Bolívar, so they can be compensated.

"We Will Guarantee Service" - The Government Minister, Jorge Ricardo Fabrega, said the government will ensure that the public transportation system is operating despite the threats being made by the bus drivers, who say they will not leave the system on Friday.

In response to the requests being made for a new date in the future for these bus drivers to leave the system, Fabrega said the compensation process has been going on for more than two and a half years, which is why carriers have no excuse for not having their documents up to date.

Fabrega, who chairs the Board of the ATTT, warned that they are not going to allow the roads to be closed, nor will they allow these bus drivers to affect the users and the public transportation system. (Siglo)

Editor's Comment: So this conflict will be coming to a head on Friday. Stay tuned.

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Firemen Protesting Again, Still Trying To Get Paid

Protests & DemonstrationsThis morning a group of firefighters came out to protest in front of the Ricardo Arango Fire Station, located on Avenida Cuba, against the failure of the authorities to abide with prior agreements.

The firefighters have been demanding the payment of their higher salaries and bonuses that are still pending.

According to the firefighters, of the 13 points agreed upon during recent negotiations, the government has only complied with the issue of promotions, but to date they have not received the back payments of wages they are due.

The firemen closed one lane of Ave Cuba in Calidonia during the protest. (TVN)

Editor's Comment: The government has already agreed to pay the firemen higher wages and bonuses for things like overtime. The firemen came out to protest a few months ago because even though the promise of the raises was there, the money was not in the budget to actually cut the checks. Then after the most recent round of negotiations supposedly the central government transferred the funds to the fire department to actually pay these guys. So far, still no checks. So, they are taking to the streets again.

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Protesting Ngäbe Bugle Close Pan American Highway, Clash With Riot Control Police

Protests & DemonstrationsAs they had announced, the indigenous Ngäbe Bugle protested on the Pan American highway on Saturday, triggering clashes between them and the riot control units of the National Police.

The clashes occurred after noon, after the leader and president of the Regional Congress, Toribio Garcia, announced that the primary demand being made by the Ngabe Bugle people is the elimination of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project.

The Indians complained about the way they were repulsed by the units of the National Police. (Telemetro)

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Protesters Briefly Close Pan American Highway in Veraguas

Protests & DemonstrationsSome 17 communities in the district of Santiago closed the Pan American highway in the area of Calabacito, in the province of Veraguas, to protest the poor condition of the streets.

The protesters are calling on the authorities of the Ministry of Public Works to improve their roads, for a hydroelectric project, and the recently approved expropriation law.

Minutes after they closed the highway, Riot Control officers of the National Police arrived at the scene to reopen the road that was being closed by residents from the communities of El Rincón, El Castillo, Los Bajos, La Pintada, and Llano Grande, among others, and using tear gas they reopened the roadway completely. (Dia a Dia)

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Costa Rica Truck Driver Strike Continues

Protests & DemonstrationsCosta Rican truck drivers are claiming that when they enter Panama the State Border Service is running checks of their vehicles through Interpol.

This situation causes delays of up to three hours to cross the border.

They also say any time they are fined in Panama for traffic violations based on Panamanian law, they cannot continue on their way until they have paid the fine.

This is contrary to what is stated in the law which allows for anyone who has been fined a period of 30 days to either pay the fine or file an appeal.

The protesters say their strike will be indefinite, and they are asking the government of Costa Rica to speak to the government of Panama in order to seek and find solutions to the problems they are reporting. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: The truck drivers from Costa Rica and other Central American countries have had the border crossing at Paso Canoas shut down for the past three days. Cargo trucks cannot cross the border, but tourists and passengers can.

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Corn Growers Block Highway In Protests

Protests & DemonstrationsThe corn growers in the province of Los Santos closed National Highway on Monday morning, in front of the silos of the company La Honda, to demand that the companies comply with the purchase of grain. (more)

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Corn Growers Block Highway In Protests

Protests & DemonstrationsThe corn growers in the province of Los Santos closed National Highway on Monday morning, in front of the silos of the company La Honda, to demand that the companies comply with the purchase of grain.

They blocked vehicular traffic with banners, and by pouring corn across the roadway.

Producers fear losing corn production because the companies are not buying their grain and the deadline is February 28. (Telemetro)

Editor's Comment: I'm not sure, but I suspect this is probably related in some way to the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement with the United States.

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Protesters in Tole Leave Highway, Burn Tires On The Side Of The Road

Protests & DemonstrationsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - It seems like for the most part the participants in the protests this afternoon have heeded calls to not close the streets, or to at least keep that kind of activity to a minimum.

In Colon a very small group of protesters blocked access to the city of Colon at Calle 16 by burning tires in the streets. There were no police officers present. After a few minutes, they went away and "reopened" the street. It just seemed like no one really cared all that much.

In Tolé the protesting Indians set some tires on fire on the side of the Pan American highway. They have since pulled back from the area, and continue their demonstration in the town, away from the roadway. The police officers who were assigned to the area are pushing the burning tires off of the road.

In Panama City a small group of radical left wing college "students" (professional protesters) briefly blocked one lane of the Via Transistmica roadway, as they were handing out leaflets. The riot police swooped in immediately and shoved them off of the roadway and on to the sidewalk. Those who resisted got a face full of pepper spray. They managed to clse the road for about thirty seconds.

So, it seems like the fun and games are pretty much over for this afternoon. It really feels like "much ado about nothing." Little hiccups here and there, but no major action. The roads are all open and traffic is flowing at this hour. We now return to our regular programming...

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Protesters Close The Pan American Highway At San Pablo and Calabacito

Protests & DemonstrationsPeasants and indigenous who oppose hydro power projects closed one lane of the road to vehicular traffic at San Pablo, in the district of La Mesa and in Calabacito, in the province of Veraguas.

Meanwhile, at the protest that is taking place in Chiriqui, hundreds of indigenous are marching in San Félix against hydro electric projects, and to demand justice for the deaths of Jerónimo Rodríguez Tugrí and Mauricio Méndez.

Both Indians died during the riots in early 2012 and still no one has been arrested or prosecuted for these deaths.

So far, the protests are being conducted without incident. (TVN)

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Indians Protesting At The Place Where Jerónimo Rodríguez Tugrí Died

Protests & DemonstrationsA group of indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé are conducting a peaceful demonstration at the intersection of San Felix, where Jerónimo Rodríguez Tugrí, died on 5 February 2012.

Since morning the ngäbes have been engaged in commemoration of that day where Rodríguez Tugrí was killed amid clashes with riot units of the National Police.

It was learned that the group is expecting more people to be coming down from San Félix in the company of Cacica Silvia Carrera.

So far there are no known closures of the Pan American highway.

There are no police units in this place, because they are within the village of Las Lajas. (La Estrella)

Editor's Comment: I think this article is a few minutes behind. There have been some closures of the Pan American highway, at a different location.

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Peaceful March in Colon

Protests & DemonstrationsFollowing the protests in different parts of the country, various organizations are conducting a peaceful march in the city of Colon. These measures serve as a reminder of the death of two people, and to denounce the failure of the Government to comply with the agreements they have made. (Telemetro)

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Riot Control Officers Use Pepper Spray To Push University Students Off Of Via Transistmica

Protests & DemonstrationsA group of students from the University of Panama who were distributing leaflets on Via Transistmica in front of the university on the roadway, were pushed off of the road by riot control units of the National Police.

The police arrived at the scene and immediately they started pushing, and shooting pepper spray.

The protests are being performed to commemorate the first anniversary of the death of the indigenous Jerónimo Rodríguez Tugrí, who was a student leader in the province of Chiriqui.

Despite this action the students continue to protest on the sidewalk. (Dia a Dia)

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Pan American Highway Closed Between Santiago and David

Protests & DemonstrationsLA MESA, Veraguas - The peasant groups in the province of Veraguas began at noon simultaneous closings of the Pan American Highway, at various points on the way to the cities of Santiago and David.

In the rural sector of Calabacito in the district of San Francisco, farmers who oppose a hydroelectric project on the Santa Maria river, are blocking both sides of the highway, and it has been closed for the last 20 minutes.

At this point a traffic jam is building, which is mainly affecting passenger and cargo carriers.

Meanwhile, on the bridge over San Pablo river in the district of La Mesa, another group is closing a single side of the Pan American highway, causing this time a slow flow of vehicles.

In the sectors of Vigui and the Cobre river, the Indians and peasants remain on the edge of the road and have not started the demonstrations.

So far, at none of the sites where there are protests have the riot control police units intervened, that have been monitoring the sites of the protest since early this morning.

Opposed To Hydro Electric Projects - The indigenous Ngäbe Buglé started this Tuesday morning a series of protests that had been announced to protest against hydropower projects that the government insists on performing in the San Felix sector in the province of Chiriqui.

The march, led by the leader of the Indian group Celio Guerra and Mijita Andrade, began at 11:00 am. Meanwhile, the group led by the chief Silvia Carrera was marching behind the first group.

Rogelio Montezuma, president of the Coalition for the Defense of Natural Resources and People's Rights and Peasants Ngäbe Buglé, reiterated that the protest will be peaceful.

Montezuma said the government, with its messages, wants to distort the reality of today's acts. They are acts of remembrance that will focus on the intersection of San Felix, where there are officers from the Traffic Police, and the Transit Authority who are guarding the Pan American highway.

Carrera: The People Want The Government To Abide By Agreements - Previously, the general chief of the Ngäbe Buglé, Silvia Carrera, said the demonstrations that have been called for this Tuesday, February 5, will be completely peaceful.

She also said they would not block the roadway or prevent passage by others.

The chief reiterated that the day of protests, in different provinces, is about the breach of agreements with the Government.

The government says they have abided with all of the agreements, but that is false, said the chieftain, on Telemetro news.

"What has been agreed, has not been met," she said. If the agreements were fulfilled to the letter, the population would be quiet, Carrera reported on the morning news.

Currently, however, there is concern among Indians, as they feel cheated. Therefore insisted that the people being asked to comply with the agreements.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Colon Broad Front Felipe Cabeza, asked the general public to join the activities.

He called on people to blow their horns and to bang on pots and pans.

You have to tell the government that they have to respect the people of Colon, he says.

Security Strengthened in Veraguas: The points where on Tuesday the Indians and peasants of Veraguas announced protest actions are being guarded by contingents of crowd control officers of the National Police (PN).

This occurs specifically on the bridges over the rivers San Pablo, Cobre and Viguí, where riot control officers have been stationed, at the prospect of reported road closures of the Pan American highway, on the road between the cities of Santiago and David.

Pablo Miranda, president of the Indian Union Campesina, denounced the fact that the points where there will be demonstrations will be guarded by the police, and that this is only "government intimidation against indigenous groups and peasants." The leader said that despite the police presence, the protest will take place as planned. (Prensa)

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Police On Standby - Alert For Indian Protests

Protests & DemonstrationsFrom the early hours of Tuesday, February 5, National Police officers have been stationed in various parts of the province of Chiriqui, waiting for the demonstrations announced by Ngäbe-Bugle Indians, in commemoration of the deaths from repression in San Felix last year, when they were defending their natural resources.

A group of police officers are at the soccer field in the village of Las Lajas, near San Félix, watching a ceremony being held for the death of Gerónimo Tugri.

The indigenous group is walking on the streets under the watchful eye of the police officers.

In other parts of the country, other groups announced mobilizations in support of the Ngöbe.

The Indians say the government has not complied with the agreements reached. The government said yesterday, February 4, in a press release, that such agreements have been fulfilled by 98 percent. (Estrella)

Editor's Comment: Still no reports of road closures or clashes...

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Bus Riders At David Terminal Fearful Of Possible Highway Closure

Protests & DemonstrationsBus passengers who are at the bus terminal in David who are intending to take a bus to Panama City remain uncertain and are afraid to board the buses, faced with the potential threat of road closures by the indigenous leaders along the Pan American highway in the sector of San Félix, province of Chiriquí.

Alfredo Giménez, a transport user said he is not against the indigenous people conducting their protest "but it's not fair for them to cause alarm" in people, by wanting to close the main access road at this point in the province.

"I have to go to the capital city to see a child who is hospitalized at the Children's Hospital, and sometimes I have to leave urgently. Knowing they are thinking about closing the highway fills me with great fear," he said.

He asked the authorities to prevent the roads from being closed, and to ensure free movement throughout the area.

The leaders of the Ngäbe Buglé are conducting a demonstration today that will also be supported by other groups across the country. (Panama America)

Editor's Comment: Twitter feed not showing any road closures or violence, yet.

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Now "Live Blogging" Protests And Current Events in Panama

Protests & DemonstrationsBy DON WINNER for Panama-Guide.com - Starting right now I will be "live blogging" the events and protests as they develop in Panama. There is a good chance that the highway between Panama City and Chiriqui will be closed, as well as spots in Bocas del Toro and Colon.

Paid subscribers will have access to all of these reports, simply by logging on to their accounts on this website. However I will not be doing the short "teaser" articles for the rest of the day, mostly because I don't want to take the time to do it.

If you would like to know what's going in in Panama today by subscribing to this website, please click this link to subscribe via PayPal. Thank you very much for your interest.

Now, with that having been said, I've got work to do...

Copyright 2013 by Don Winner for Panama-Guide.com. Go ahead and use whatever you like as long as you credit the source. Don't forget to follow Panama Guide on Twitter. Salud.

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Mi Bus Company Firing Metro Bus Drivers Who Conducted Illegal "Strike"

Protests & DemonstrationsStarting 31 January 2013, the company Mi Bus started to fire an unknown number of the Metro Bus drivers who supported a "strike" held in December 2012.

The labor leader Inocente Guerra said on RPC Radio they don't know the exact number of bus drivers who have been fired, and he called it a sad fact.

The company Mi Bus reported that the strike held by the bus drivers on 26 December 2012 was declared illegal by a court.

During the more recent strike held on 31 January 2013, there were arrests, and some of the bus drivers have already been released. (Mi Diario)

Editor's Comment: Here's the thing. In Panama there are rather comprehensive labor laws governing the formation of legally recognized labor unions, collective bargaining agreements, strikes, and the conditions under which strikes can legally be held. In the case of the Mi Bus company and the Metro Bus drivers - they do not currently have a legally recognized labor union. Nor do they have a collective bargaining agreement or contract. Therefore, all of the employees fall under the "normal" (or, non union) laws and regulations regarding employment. If they don't want to drive a bus for $550 per month, then they should seek employment at a company willing to pay them more. Both strikes were officially and formally declared as illegal. In the case of the strike held on 26 December 2012 a labor court decided against the bus drivers and in favor of the Mi Bus company. As a result, the company is legally able to terminate the employees if it so chooses. So please understand - they don't have a union, there was no legal "strike", so therefore they cannot use these kinds of pressures and measures to force the company to pay them more money. Their "strike" failed, and now they will be fired.

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