Calm returns to Panama after anti-pension reform unrest

Calm returned to Panama Saturday after eight people were injured and 207 detained in days of demonstrations against the government's pension reform measures, according to the local press.

But further protests may erupt if the government took a negative attitude to the controversial reform on the pension system, Andres Rodriguez, an organizer of the demonstration, was quoted as threatening on Saturday.

In response, the government has declared the indefinite strike illegal.

The respite followed riots on Friday, when demonstrators and anti-riot police clashed near the National Assembly (congress).

The authorities blamed the disorder on demonstrators throwing stones on the police officers guarding the National Assembly, where legislators were examining the reform project.

On Thursday, the National Front for the Defense of the Social Security called the strike with the support of dozens of trade unions and social groups.

They voiced opposition to the reform which includes an increase of payment by workers to the pension fund and the extension of the retirement age from 57 to 62 for women and 62 to 65 for men over a period of 10 years.

The demonstrators also demanded the participation of workers in policy making and a referendum on the social security reforms in the country.

Source: Xinhua



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