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Multiple protests in Panama against mining law

Manifestations of rejection of the recently approved amendments to the Code of Mineral Resources were multiplied in the country yesterday.

In Bocas de Toro, Chiriquí, Veraguas, and in different sectors of the province of Panama, here were street closings and protests.

In San Félix, Chiriquí, where some 10,000 members of the Nägbe indigenous community gathered to take to the streets, Deputy Labor Minister Luis Ernesto Carles was attacked by a group of enraged protesters that rejected his call for dialogue.

Carles – candidate for Ombudsman - had rushed to the scene of the protest on behalf of the Executive Body, but had to flee in the midst of punches and shoves.

Following the attack, Carles entered the Emergency Room of the Rafael Hernández regional hospital of the Social Security Fund in David. "It is sad that, in carrying a message of peace and having fulfilled a promise not to send police to the area, a group of vandals with flags and sticks attacked us," said Carles, visibly affected.

The indigenous group maintained the Pan-American Highway in San Félix closed until 6 p.m., without being suppressed by agents of the Crowd Control Unit of the National Police.

Meanwhile, in the capital, the university closed some streets at 12 noon. In the afternoon, environmentalists, workers, students, and leaders of civil organizations alike marched along Federico Boyd in protest of the mining reform, and subsequently held a vigil outside the El Carmen Church, after blocking all four lanes of the heavily-transited downtown street Vía España during rush hour, causing much discontent among motorists in the area.

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