Panamanian retirees denounce police blockade during protest for increase in pensions

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  • Mon, 12/24/2018 - 17:58
Protesta pensionados
  • EFE

A hundred retirees were dispersed today when the police dissolved the protest that temporarily closed an important road in Panama City, at a time they demanded an increase in pensions.

Older adults, who left from Plaza 5 de Mayo to the Panamanian Presidency in the Old Town of the capital, called the protest after the president Juan Carlos Varela vetoed a bill that establishes increases of up to 60 dollars.

The march was dispersed by members of the Multitude Control Unit (UCM) of the National Police, several people were attacked, said to Acan-Efe, the leader of the Association of Retirees and Pensioners, Franklin Ortiz.

"We were going to sing bitter Christmas to the president for not having sanctioned the project and instead he vetoed it, but when the group was walking on the pedestrian way toward the Panamanian Government House, they threw the riot police against people of 75 and 80 years old", he claimed.

Ortiz, who was still in the vicinity of the place, said some were beaten with plastic sticks, including an elderly woman.

"We are every day on the street fighting a hunger wage of 200 and 300 dollars which is what most of the retirees in this country earn, and what they did is not fair, that is why we demand a call of attention to these facts", said Ortiz.

Varela partially vetoed last December 5 the bill 631, which establishes an increase, from next January 1, of between 35 to 60 dollars to retirees and pensioners of the Social Security Fund (CSS).

The legislative initiative, approved by the National Assembly in October, stipulates that the increase will be financed by a 7 percent tax on remittances sent abroad and a rate of 5 percent of the net annual profits of slot machines and betting centers in casinos and gambling halls.

The Government explained that it vetoed the project because it disagreed with the sources of funding and that it formed a high-level commission to seek "a responsible and sustainable economic formula to respond to the just aspirations of pensioners".

The leader assured that the retirees will continue in the streets if they will not obtain a satisfactory answer. They will even be there on January 2 when the president attends the installation of the second term of the fifth ordinary session in Parliament. 


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