On Tuesday, at least six Panamanians were arrested in the Colon province. At the same time, citizens took to the streets to demand that the government set previously agreed on social projects and regulate fuel prices.
The demonstration proceeded peacefully until riot police units began firing tear gas bombs at the demonstrators in the Cuatro Altos neighborhood for allegedly obstructing their town’s central avenue. To defend themselves, protesters threw stones at the agents, one of whom suffered a superficial injury.
«The police did not need to resort to violence because none of us were armed,» Felipe Cabeza stressed and lamented that the Unity Coalition for Colon Province leader Edgardo Voitier was among the detainees.
On previous occasions, the inhabitants of Colon province, one of the most impoverished in the country, had demanded answers to this protest’s demands, which comprised the resolution of the lack of drinking water problem, the construction of a local hospital, and a transport terminal, and improvements in the education sector.
In this demonstration, citizens also demanded that legislators approve a bill to regulate fuel prices, which reached 1.271 dollars per liter after the supply crisis prompted by the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.
After the protest, Colon governor Iracema de Dale proposed demonstrators dialogue again on this issue. Protesters, however, stressed that they would not participate in this process unless President Laurentino Cortizo joined it.
«Negotiations with our local authorities have proven to be a waste of time. We can no longer stand these accumulated demands. Until we have a timely response, we will continue to develop protests,» Panama’s United Volquetes Association Noraida Gomez stated.