Listen to article
As social groups rejected a deal made with the government to clear the roadways in exchange for a reduction in fuel prices, fresh roadblocks appeared in Panama yesterday indicating that trouble was still brewing.
According to Luis Sanchez, a leader of the Anadepo civic gathering, union leaders consulted grassroots supporters about the arrangement made on Sunday before deciding to continue the protest.
‘We had warned the executive that we still have to consult the rank and file,’ he told the TVN-2 channel.
The agreement, he added, ‘was signed under pressure’ and members have opted to continue the mobilization that had seen trucks and banner-waving demonstrators paralyze the strategic Pan-American Highway.
‘In the meantime, there is no agreement,’ said Sanchez as he tore up a sheet of paper.
On Sunday, the government and some protest leaders announced a deal to end more than two weeks of demonstrations over high fuel prices and rising living costs in the country of 4.4 million people.
According to reports, the biggest protest Monday was in the capital Panama City, with members of the Suntracs construction union closing access roads with burning tire barricades, causing massive traffic backups.
There were also new blockades of the Pan-American Highway that connects Panama with the rest of Central America and is the main transport route for goods through the country.
The protests have led to shortages of fuel and food in some areas.
Africa Daily News, New York reports that after Sunday’s announcement, several unions said the agreement was inadequate and had left out many groups.