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  • The strike was rejected by the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Carlos Fernandez, who accused Frenadeso of threatening the country's development.

    The strike was rejected by the president of the Chamber of Commerce, Carlos Fernandez, who accused Frenadeso of threatening the country's development. | Photo: EFE

Published 24 November 2015

Protesters demand an end to impunity following a series of violent incidents involving police and construction workers.

Thousands of workers brought Panama to a standstill on Tuesday as part of a national 24-hour strike to demand “justice for the poor,” including the right to unionize, an end to corruption and high living costs.

Over 5,000 Panama canal workers joined the national strike and flooded the streets of the capital in a march to the Supreme Court of Justice resulting in major traffic jams, according to Prensa Latina.

"Today is the day to stop lamenting on social networks. Go out to protest. Fight is sacrifice," the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadeso) said on its Twitter account.

The protesters oppose plans to increase the retirement age in the country and are demanding universal access to clean drinking water and protections on the right to unionize.

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Protesters are also seeking an end to police impunity following a series of cases in which police officers walked away without charge after lethally shooting down construction workers.

The strike was fiercely rejected by the President of the Chamber of Commerce, Carlos Fernandez, who accused Frenadeso of threatening the country's development.

Another strike has been scheduled for Dec. 4 in protest against neoliberal policies initiatied by the government, which the group Polo Citizen say “will bring more poverty to the Panamanian people.”

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