Violent protests were reported in Panama City on Wednesday, October 30, in which groups vocalized their opposition to proposed constitutional reforms. Students from the University of Panama, trade unions, and social organizations participated in protests, some of which took place near the National Assembly, as well as other streets in the city. Police clashed with protesters, using tear gas and arresting at least 40.
Related protests remain possible in Panama City and other urban centers over the coming several days and weeks, particularly if the proposal is passed.
The constitutional reforms proposed by the government are many. They seek to create a Constitutional Court and give more power to Congress by allowing it to pass the national budget, set its own salaries, and oversee investigations of judges and prosecutors. Further, proposals seek to limit the re-election of deputies and the management of funds due to numerous corruption scandals. Privatizing higher education is also an issue.
Individuals in Panama, notably in Panama City, are advised to monitor developments, avoid all protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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