With beatings and slogans like “The people are hungry”, a march of thousands of people – led by teachers on strike for an indefinite period – reached the outskirts of Panama’s National Assembly on Monday, in the second week of protests in the capital and other points in the channel country against the unstoppable rise in fuel prices.
Meanwhile, President Laurentino Cortizo sought to launch a dialogue table in the center of the country with the leaders of the teachers and social unions, which were the catalysts of the biggest protests against the government since shortly before the arrival of the pandemic. .
Several protesters led the march carrying a large Panamanian national flag outstretched, while some women banged pots and pans with spoons. Simultaneously, other groups protested in front of the University of Panama (public).
Teachers unions agreed last week to extend a strike to pressure the government to take immediate action to lower and/or freeze fuel prices, which have doubled in a matter of weeks. A gallon of gasoline currently exceeds six dollars.
Unions maintain that this has an impact on food prices.
The government recently froze gasoline at $3.95 a gallon in some sectors to avoid rising tariffs and food. He then agreed to provide financial compensation of between $250 and $1,500 to agricultural freight forwarders who stopped for several days.
To the protests of the teachers were added the weekend of the indigenous people of the west of the country who closed the Pan-American highway -international- and the powerful union of the construction industry that decreed a 24-hour strike for Wednesday.