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Panama, Colon: Protests over land sell-off

By Sue Richards with extracts of article by Sky News and Colon update relating to cruisers from Karsten Staffeldt. — last modified Nov 13, 2012 02:57 PM
Latest Update: This new Law has now been cancelled by Assembly. Consequently the situation should now be under control.

Published: 2012-10-23 00:00:00
Countries: Panama

Update posted 23 October, 2012

The situation in Colon is still not under control with continuing demonstrations in and around the City, at times violent with looting. The warning to keep out of the City remains in force. Traffic at the Panama Canal has not been affected. Shelter Bay Marina and the Flats anchorage in the Cristobal area are safe, however the area around the Club Nautico Colon, including the anchorage area used by the Club, is within the City and as such should be considered within the area covered by the warning.

Our thanks to Karsten Staffeldt for advising noonsite of the current situation in Colon and for sending updates.

Report posted 20 October, 2012

The child was shot once in the stomach and died in hospital - at least six other people were treated for gunshot wounds and several others for pellet wounds, one doctor revealed.

The protesters were demonstrating over a new law allowing the sale of state-owned land in the duty-free zone next to the Panama Canal.

Anti-riot police used tear gas and fired into the air to disperse hundreds of people who burned tyres and threw objects at police in Colon's city centre and a curfew was declared on Friday afternoon.

The unrest is not affecting yachts at Shelter Bay Marina or the anchorages near the City, however yacht crews are recommended to stay away from the town until the situation is under control/settled.

Read more at Sky News..

Further Information received 10 November, 2012

We are currently travelling, our boat is in Shelter Bay, Panama. Just read your report about Colon. I would like to contribute that there had even been a curfew on October 19th in Colon. And on October 26th there was a warning for US citizens to avoid the City of Colon:
" This Emergency message is to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Panama that throughout the morning of October 26th, various groups have held protests at multiple locations throughout Panama City. While earlier in the day the protests were generally nonviolent the news is reporting that they have turned violent in several locations in Panama City and Colon, including at the National Assembly and Electoral Tribunal. There are reports of spreading vandalism including in Plaza 5 de Mayo and Calidonia. Accordingly, the Embassy's security office is urging all U.S. government personnel to avoid the area around Plaza 5 de Mayo/National Assembly/Calidonia."

Daniela Stocks

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