PANAMA ( Associated Press) – Panamanian government and teacher leaders resumed talks on Friday seeking a solution to the protests that have rocked the country since last week in denial of the high cost of fuel and food.
The talks are taking place at the main teacher training school in the central province of Veraguas. Representatives of the government and national coalitions of organized people participate in them, with the mediation of the Lokpal office.
During the day, protests continued across the country, while talks continued into the night. Like the previous days in the capital, thousands of protesters reached the headquarters of the country’s Controller General instead of the Legislative Assembly.
“We went to the comptroller’s office because it is he who has paralyzed the school canteen at the moment,” said Diogenes Sanchez, leader of the teachers’ union. “How can it be possible that they have six games for the Legislative Assembly? They are giving them resources, not our children.”
Workers and drivers of cargo trucks closed several places in the capital and interior of the country, where marches and demonstrations by teachers and individuals continued. Nurses and health workers protested in front of hospitals.
Dialogue resumes at a time when a cap on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for the entire population is enforced, a measure decided by President Laurentino Cortizo in an attempt to stop the biggest protests in Panama in recent years. Gone. Temporarily sets a fixed price of $3.95 per gallon. It also ordered price controls on ten products, including some types of breads, sausages and vegetable oils. But the measures failed to quell the demonstrations.
Cortizo set up a new dialogue in Panama City the day before, but teacher leaders who began mobilizing across the country warned they would not travel to the capital for talks.
Teachers’ leader Luis Sanchez said, “What we want is to get out of the crisis that the government has delayed … the beginning of dialogue.
Teachers demand a greater reduction in fuel costs and the resumption of school canteen service in public schools, among other demands given the high cost of living.
Shortages have been reported in some parts of the country, after nearly two weeks of protests and road closures affecting the transport of goods and fuel. Protesters have reopened points along the Inter-American Highway and allowed some trucks to pass through.
Other unions, movements and labor and social organizations took part in the protests that began with teachers’ demands in the province of Veraguas.