Issues with Indigenous disputes causing a “perfect storm” of in country infrastructure.


In Panama City and in the interior of the country the scenes were the same: Street closures and mobilizations.

The protests began early at a slow pace, but progressively increased as citizens traveled by different modes of transportation to get to their workplaces.

In the capital city, public transportation service was suspended in some areas, and shortages of food and other products increased.

The United People’s Alliance for Life, the National Alliance of the Organized People (Anadepo) and leaders of some of the so-called bastions of struggle of the indigenous groups announced a total closure for 24 hours continuously at the national level for this Thursday the 16th and the Monday, November 20.

Demonstrations took to the streets of the country
The transportation system was paralyzed. Roberto Barrios | The Star of Panama.

The temporary suspension of MiBus services exacerbated the situation by leaving people on foot without viable options to reach their work destinations.

The transportation company MiBus suspended service on all its routes due to the multiple street closures that were recorded in the areas where it provides the service. In a statement, the company highlighted that due to the situation and dimensions of its buses, making detours is impossible, so they will temporarily keep the operation paralyzed.

The 18 paid zones were also closed until vehicular traffic was normalized and the roads were opened. Juan Yao, Director of Operations at MiBus, pointed out that from the beginning of the crisis it has been explained that this measure is to safeguard the lives of users and operators.

In the capital city, closures were recorded in about 12 points, both in the center and on the outskirts, including the main roads, such as Balboa Avenue, Transístmica and Via España.

In the interior of the country, the mobilizations took place in the provinces of Veraguas, Chiriquí, and the Azuero region. In Colón there were also demonstrations, including that of boatmen protesting in the port of Punta Rincón, where they tried to prevent the docking of a ship transporting coal for Minera Panamá operations.

In the afternoon, the Judicial Branch announced the admission of the tenth claim of unconstitutionality filed on November 15 before the General Secretariat of the Supreme Court of Justice against Law 406 of October 20, 2023. The claim was admitted yesterday, 16 November, by Judge Carlos Alberto Vásquez Reyes, and sent to the Attorney General of the Administration for his opinion.

The lawsuit against the contract between the Panamanian State and the Minera Panamá company was presented by lawyer Francisco Javier Ramos Molina.

The Minister of Government, Roger Tejada Bryden, held a meeting with the regional representative of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for Central America and the Caribbean, Alberto Brunori, with the aim of exchanging ideas and make you aware of the situation in the country.

“The head of Government notified Brunori that the National Government of Panama has exhausted all avenues to open the roads peacefully. In addition, he informed him that there have been acts of vandalism by protesters in various parts of the country,” the Ministry of Government said in a statement.

“We are activating judicial processes to hold the actors accountable and we will do what is necessary to open the streets, allowing the restitution of the exercise of their rights to all citizens,” the statement added.

The Ombudsman, Eduardo Leblanc, was also present at the meeting, and recalled that the right to protest must be exercised peacefully, the statement said.

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