Riots Take Over Colón, Panama Over Infrastructure Issues

By Alexandra Wells, International News Writer

Colón, Panama, a major port city, has experienced major rioting and looting in the past week. The riots, stemming from lack of infrastructure and perceived purposeful neglect, turned to violence from splinter groups of protestors who started fires, threw rocks at police officers, and looted businesses.

The march in the city center over the slow progress of fixing city infrastructure went smoothly until groups split off and began rioting and looting. Four officers and one protester were injured overall, with 35 people arrested for vandalism, looting, and attacking police officers.

The lack of infrastructure in Colón sparked the protests, with citizens of the area upset over the slow pace of construction. Problems with the city include a collapsing sewer system, a lacking water supply, poor housing situations, and ditches left open for long periods of time, allowing them to fill up with dirty water and give off repugnant smells. Some protestors believe that selective infrastructure in the city is a way to gentrify the area and drive poor residents away from the city. The Washington Post quotes Marco Gandasegui, a sociologist at the University of Panama, as saying “Residents of Colon have been abused for many decades, and the current president promised them that he was going to improve their quality of life. Nearly four years have gone by and not only has that promise become hollow, it has hurt the great majority (of people) with a project that openly cheated them.”

 

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, March 20th print edition.

Contact Alexandra at

alexandra.wells@student.shu.edu

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