Rising electricity prices spark protests

Peaceful Assembly

Starting on 10th July 2018, students of the National University of Panama held a protest for three days to voice their opposition to a rise in electricity prices. The protest included roadblocks, which led to clashes with police officers who used tear gas to disperse the protest. No arrests were reported and after three days of protests, the President Juan Carlos Varela announced the reversal of the decision to hike electricity prices.

On the same day, a group of parents from Victoriano Lorenzo public school in the city of David blocked one of the city’s main roads demanding the construction of more buildings in the school. It was reported that police officers forcibly removed the blockade. No other incidents were reported.

A national farmers’ protest took place on 8th August 2018, to reject excessive imports of agricultural goods. Despite a strong police presence where the farmers blocked the roads, these blockades were removed when a Cabinet member suggested a meeting between the farmers and the President. 

Association

As previously reported in the CIVICUS Monitor, activist Lucy Cordoba, was sued for an alleged scam. Cordoba stated that this charges are a consequence of her work supporting an indigenous person in a land claim. On her Twitter account, Cordoba reported she was arrested on 27th July 2018. In this case, the activist linked the detention to her work against child exploitation in the region of Bocas Del Toro, where she has been reporting for more than a year. She was released soon after the arrest.