Discontent erupted after President Cortizo renewed a 20-year extendable concession to exploit the largest open-pit copper mine in Central America.
On Thursday, Panamanian police forcefully suppressed fishermen who attempted to block the entry of a vessel into a port controlled by the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals.
For over 15 days, fishermen from Donoso, a Caribbean town adjacent to the Cobre Panama mining project, have been obstructing the Punta Rincon International Port to protest a contract between the administration of President Laurentino Cortizo and Minera Panama company.
Videos posted on social media depicted the National Aeronaval Service (SENAN) pursuing the fishermen by sea as they tried to escape repression amid white clouds caused by tear gas.
The Donoso fishermen reported that three individuals were injured due to pellets fired by the police, supported by a helicopter hovering in the area.
The text reads, "Fishermen from communities surrounding the Donoso mine protest at the Minera Panama metal export port."
On Thursday morning, the Panamanian Aeronaval Police began escorting a coal ship to the Minera Panama port, claiming that the vessel was at risk of "spontaneous combustion."
According to the official version, the CSL Tarantau had requested an emergency docking at the Punta Rincon port "to prevent an accident endangering the crew's health and lives."
However, the fishermen claimed that there were at least two ships attempting to dock at the port, one for mineral extraction and another transporting coal.
On Friday, the Aeronaval Service decided not to proceed with the emergency entry of the ship due to clashes with protesters who "threw stones and makeshift objects."
SENAN requested the Panamanian Prosecutor's Office to investigate the fishermen, popularly known as "The Warriors of the Sea," because their actions may be considered "violent, reckless, and contrary to peaceful coexistence."
Over the past month, Minera Panama has been at the center of the most massive and intense protests recorded in this Central American country in decades.
Public discontent erupted after President Cortizo signed a contract renewing a 20-year extendable concession to exploit the largest open-pit copper mine in Central America.
#Panama | Thousands of citizens protested for the 6th consecutive day in favor of the repeal of the law promoted by President Laurentino Cortizo that granted a concession to Minera Panama, a subsidiary of Canada's First Quantum Minerals, to extract copper from an open pit deposit pic.twitter.com/9yOIB06gPf— teleSUR English (@telesurenglish) October 29, 2023