Manifestation in the Panamanian province of Colón takes place without incident

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  • Thu, 04/19/2018 - 21:47
Huelga Panamá
  • EFE

The demonstration held today in the Caribbean city of Colón was normal as opposed to the march last month, where there were violent acts and burning of tires, informed the Panamanian authorities.

The Panamanian Minister of Public Security, Alexis Bethancourt, said at a press conference that the police device was deployed last night and that the demonstration this Thursday was at all times "peaceful."

"The round table, chaired by the Minister of the Presidency Álvaro Alemán, is open and what we need is for Colón to continue as today, normal", Bethancourt urged.

The Frente Amplio de Colón, a platform that brings together several social organizations, called for a strike and march to protest against the social and economic problems that plague the province of Colón, one of the poorest in the country, and against an urban renovation plan that the Government undertakes in the city of the same name.

The provincial strike, declared illegal by the Panamanian government, was under follow-up, as Acan-Efe was able to confirm, unlike the strike on March 13, when many shops were closed, generated millions in losses, there were 5 injured and ended with some thirty detainees.

"I want to thank all the businessmen and collaborators of the Colón Free Zone who have said no to the strike and who have effectively arrived at their work." This is how one builds a country, one feels proud of each of the colonists who did not participate in an unnecessary strike," said the general manager of the largest free zone in the continent, Manuel Grimaldo.

The colonists protested against the lack of infrastructures that the province lacks, especially the lack of water, and against the violence that annually takes dozens of victims.

The city of Colón, located on the shores of the Caribbean Sea and 80 kilometers north of the capital, is one of the poorest and most conflictive in the country, although it houses the largest free zone of the continent and has important ports, in addition to the Atlantic entrance of the interoceanic canal.

The platform also complains that Colón’s urban renewal project, awarded in 2015 for 537 million dollars to the multinational Odebrecht hides a process of gentrification and that the hidden agenda of the Government is to drive the poor colonists out of Casco Viejo and "sell the city to the rich."

The work includes the restoration of the overpopulated and destroyed urban center –where World Heritage Sites buildings are-, the construction of 5,000 social housings and the reconstruction of the rainwater and sewage system. ACAN-EFE

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