Protests in Panama

October 31st 2019 will be the fourth day of protests in Panama City, where civil unrest is brewing over constitutional reforms.

Several groups, including union workers, members of the LGBTQ community and university students opposing a list of constitutional reforms by protesting on the grounds of the National Assembly. Protests began Monday, continued onTuesday and were met with arrests on Wednesday. 

Wednesday brought an atmosphere of heated tempers as requests to enter the National Assembly were denied. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) asked the National Assembly of Panama on Wednesday to legislate "without discrimination". At a time when a constitutional reform is discussed that includes only recognition of Marriage between a man and a woman. The statement from the UN was followed by an Assembly apology which was in response to statements made by Deputy Jairo Salazar. According to the UN entity official deputy, Jairo Salazar, "refused to allow the entry of parliament of activists who defend the approval of equal marriage in the country."

While the protests began peacefully, the confrontation escalated when protesters tried to climb the main gate of the Legislative Body, which was met with police intervention, mainly the use of pepper spray. 

According to TeleMetro "Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo defended the values ​​of tolerance and respect for diversity on Wednesday and rejected any discourse against them."

"I respect the separation of powers. However, respect is two-way. I ask the deputies to measure their words. Tolerance to diversity and respect for human dignity in my government are NOT negotiable. Panama belongs to everyone. . NCC, " he said on his Twitter account Cortizo, who is visiting Mexico.

The comments are all in regards to the reformed article which now states that marriage in Panama is celebrated between a man and a woman, which was introduced in the parliamentary discussion and is not in the proposed changes.