Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Extension of protests to all Panama forces government to negotiate with the Ngäbe-Buglé nation

Today a partial agreement to end the violent conflict (murderous repression by police of popular  road blocks) has been signed between the government and the representatives of the indigenous nation. However a similar agreement was signed a year ago and was of no use because of the different interpretation by the parties. 

The protests reported were as follow (time for yesterday Panamanian time):
  • 9:34 - Naso natives declare a blockade against a hydroelectric project under construction at Bocas del Toro province.
  • 9:46 - Massive Facebook protests force the Consulate General in Barcelona to establish censorship at its FB "wall" (whatever that is).
  • 10:00 - Teachers blocked for 40 minutes a bridge over river La Villa. Institutions close doors for fear of protests. 
  • 10:50 - Hospital sources confirm 11 injured, at least three with bullet injuries. Access to the victims is essentially forbidden. 
  • 11:24 - The Ngäbe-Buglé Coordination rejects talks unless demands are meet first: liberation of the arrested, restoration of telephone lines, attention to the injured, attention to relatives of the killed, halt to police hostilities, presence of mediators and observers.
  • Students protest in the streets of Panama City.
  • 11:30 - Construction workers block the Panamerican Highway between Arraiján and Farallón.
  • 11:35 - Telephone services begin to be restored.
  • 11:50 - Native peoples Emberá and Wounaan (from Darién) declare themselves in civil disobedience and cut the Panamerican Highway as well (both in solidarity with the Ngäbe-Buglé and for their own demands, of similar nature). Previously the Central American Indigenous Council also demanded a halt to land-grabbing practices by Panama and multinational corporations.
  • 11:59 - Activists denounce that the arrested at David and La Joya are being deprived of all rights, being forced to keep their arms high, not being given food or water and not being attended medically. 
  • 14:00 - The first meeting between the Government and the Coordination ends after an hour for consultations. 
  • 14:25 - Amnesty International initiated an urgent action of protest.
  • 14:42 - Reports of the very bad situation and police abuses of the dozens arrested at David.
  • 14:55 - Solidarity march in Panama city, initiated in a remote suburb hours earlier, reaches the center. Súper 99 supermarkets, owned by the unpopular President Martinelli, The Madman, are strongly protected by police forces.
  • 15:36 - It is reported that supplies begin to be scarce in Bocas del Toro province after the lengthy blockade, transport strikes, etc.
  • 16:41 - Interamerican Commission of Human Rights issues communication demanding respect and security for the Ngäbe-Buglé people.
  • 17:30 - Some 3000 demonstrators arrived to the park near Parliament, gathering with citizens who held a protest since days before. 
  • 17:32 - Social movements of Ecuador call for a solidarity march tomorrow.
  • 18:58 - It is known that the Government has accepted nearly all demands by the Indigenous Coordination. The agreement provides for the liberation of all arrested without charges, permanent assistance for the families of those killed, restoration of the mobile phone network, retiring the police forces, stopping overflight by helicopters, reconsideration of the Law 415 (which would forbid development projects without previous approval by the natives) and investigation by international human rights watchdogs.
Source: LINyM[es].

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