What is behind the largest protests in Panama in years?

by | Jul 20, 2022 | World

EXPLAINERAs the country continues to battle ongoing protests and a financial crisis, we take a look at the protesters’ demands and the government’s response.Thousands of Panamanian protesters have taken to the streets in recent weeks to demand the government put a stop to rising inflation and corruption.
President Laurentino Cortizo recently announced measures to cut fuel costs and put a cap on the price of basic food items – but protesters said they were not enough and promised to continue demonstrating.
Here is what you should know about the protests, some of the longest to have taken place in Panama in decades.
Why is Panama having protests and what are the protesters’ demands?

The latest protests come as Panama battles an inflation rate of 4.2 percent in May; unemployment numbers of about 10 percent; and an increase in fuel costs of almost 50 percent since January.
Teachers were the first group to demonstrate at the start of July but they have since been joined by other groups, including construction workers, students and members of Indigenous groups.
Initially, the protesters called for the freezing and reduction of fuel prices, a price cap on food and an increase in the budget for education, but the demands have since widened to include a national negotiation to address political corruption and discuss larger political reforms.
“The current situation in Panama is unbelievable,” Janireth Dominguez, who studies medicine, told Al Jazeera.
“There are no medical supplies, there are salary cuts, and there is no work. There is no money to pay the doctors,” she said. “As a student, the future worri …

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