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Police overreach in Panama protest


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OPINION: Police overreach in Panama protest

Posted 11/06/2020

In democratic countries, under quarantine, citizens have freely conducted peaceful protests. The authorities of those nations respected that right. In Panama, there is a quarantine based on the Public Procurement Law, that is, a state of emergency that does not exist in the Political Constitution, and therefore cannot suspend peaceful protest. Thus, yesterday a motorcade escorted by the police was detained at a checkpoint of the same institution. Participants maintained social isolation, did not pose a danger to third parties, and continued to respect traffic regulations. However, the caravan ended with the police action. Was it a lack of internal coordination, or a direct order to do so? The emotional, family, economic, social impacts, and the frustration with the evident corruption and impunity, are causes to protest. All authorities must understand that, according to the Constitution , Panamanians and foreigners, still have rights, including that of peaceful protest, and we will exercise them. This is the essence of constitutional democracy. LA PRENSA, June 11

 

https://www.newsroompanama.com/opinion/opinion-police-overreach-in-panama-protest

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It seems to me that there is a fundamental question that has not been resolved.  Is this State of Emergency allowed under the Panamanian constitution, or not?  These protestors were almost certainly violating quarantine.  I'm about tired of the heavy-handedness of the restrictions, and if they are unconstitutional, they should be lifted.

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22 minutes ago, Uncle Doug said:

It seems to me that there is a fundamental question that has not been resolved.  Is this State of Emergency allowed under the Panamanian constitution, or not?  These protestors were almost certainly violating quarantine.  I'm about tired of the heavy-handedness of the restrictions, and if they are unconstitutional, they should be lifted.

The report I read said that the police had let the protest through one of the roadblocks when a driver quoted the Panamanian Constitution. They only stopped the protest when it neared Casco Viejo, where the Presidential Palace is located. The relevant article is Article 38:

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