Clashes erupted Thursday in Panama for the third day in a row, during protests against a constitutional reform project that would prevent including any legalization of same-sex marriage. Protestant students, who were trying to go to the National Assembly in the capital Panama, launched rockets against the police who fought back with pepper spray and made several arrests. Subsequently, incidents broke out at the University of Panama, where students erected barricades and threw stones at the police.
The president does not understand the attitude of the deputies
The draft reform of the 1972 Constitution, adopted Monday, was nevertheless the subject of a broad consensus among political forces and aimed at strengthening institutions and fighting corruption. But MEPs heavily amended the original text, including an article preventing a future legalization of same-sex marriage (currently unrecognized in Panama), and granting much broader powers to Parliament. These amendments have angered many social organizations, as well as the LGBT movement.
Panamanian President Laurentini Cortizo himself deplored the attitude of the deputies. "I will not allow an article, or anyone else, to sow confrontation between Panamanians," he told a news conference. Constitutional reform must be submitted to a referendum in 2020.