Panamanian president cancels trip to World Cup final

12:17, July 10, 2010      

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Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli suspended on Friday his trip to South Africa to attend the World Cup final match due to the clashes between the police and the banana sector workers.

Sources of the Presidency Ministry told Xinhua that Martinelli' s decision was due to the need of assisting the situation in Bocas del Toro province in the north of the country, where at least two people have died and 100 were injured on Thursday during a clash between the police and the workers on strike.

On Thursday, the government issued a curfew from 11:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. local time (0400 to 1300 GMT) in Changuinola, capital of Bocas del Toro, where there have been registered violent riots in the streets.

About 4,000 banana workers and 3,000 independent producers keep a strike to demand salary improvements and the derogation of the Law 30, also known as "Sausage Law" or "Lobster Law."

Martinelli considered that the demands of the strikers of abolishing the law does not have base because the new legal norm does not reduce the rights of the labor union nor endorse discounts to their salaries.

Martinelli had announced his intention to travel to South Africa this Friday and return to the country on Monday in order to watch the final of the World Cup between Spain and Holland.

Source: Xinhua


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