Feb 7, 2012

And it goes on....

According to the mid-day news, there are continued protests in Panama City and the surrounding areas.  Attention in these areas is being given to not disrupt traffic or business activities.  Demonstrators include students from the University of Panama, whose classes remain closed, teachers from the teachers union, and varied labor organizations.  Teachers and professors in Santiago, Chitre,  Arraijan, and La Chorrera are also protesting.  Everywhere people are imploring President Martinelli to meet with the indigenous to resolve the issues at hand.  At one gathering a speaker commented that there are currently more than 10,000 indigenous people protesting, and more than 25 areas effectively closed down by the movement.  Cell phone service still has not been restored to the indigenous areas, and this is a bone of contention regarding negotiations and dialogue.  The catholic church, in particular two priests, have been recruited as mediators, and they spoke on national television to implore the President to meet with the indigenous who aren't satisfied to deal with emissaries.

The areas north are most affected currently.  Altamirante has been out of electricity for 36 hours,  and water and cooking gas supplies are dwindling.  An official from the electric company stated that 12 electrical posts have been downed and damaged, some irreversibly, and this is the reason electricity hasn't yet been restored. 

Some government officials are in David currently in preparation for the onset of dialogue.  Two others, Papadimitriu and Quijano are enroute.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a serious day of protest, and today has already shown great public sympathy and solidarity with the indians.   The country still waits to hear the outcome of dialogue and negotiations.