Six people arrested during clashes with the police

Peaceful Assembly

Clashes between the police and a group of farmers were reported on 18th December 2018 in the town of Divisa after a failed negotiation meeting between the farmers and the Ministers of Industry, Security and Agriculture. The unrest took place after talks between the farmers and officials broke down. Ministers decided to close the negotiation meeting without reaching an agreement, prompting the farmers to try to prevent the Ministers from leaving the town of Divisa. In a bid to extend the talks, farmers protested by blocking the official's cars. In response, the police forcibly opened the path for the cars, leading to the clashes between the two sides. Three days later, six farmers were arrested and charged with damages to public property. Farmers have been on negotiations with the government for several months for what they considered excessive imports.  

In a separate incident, on 14th December 2018, a group of elders demonstrated to demand the approval of legislation that would increase their pensions. When the group headed to a street to block a main road, the police unsuccessfully tried to block them.

During Pope Francis’ visit to Panama in mid-January 2019, a small group of LGBTI activists held a symbolic ‘kissing-protest’ in front of a church that the Pope was visiting. 

Expression

Journalist Ligia Arreaga was arrested in Panama on 2nd January 2019. Arreaga was reporting on the alleged abuses committed against the farmers of the city of Chiriqui after the multinational food company Del Monte arrived. The journalist explained that she was trying to interview a local judge, but the judge deemed her actions as violating her privacy and ordered the police to arrest her. 24 hours later, the journalist, Arreaga was released. As reported on the Monitor, in 2016, Arreaga was forced to leave the country after several years of harassment and threats for her work protecting the environment from multinational companies and hydroelectric projects.