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While protests across the country have subsided since the government of President Laurentino “Nito” Cortizo announced a series of price control measures last month, tensions remain high as civil society groups negotiate with the government over plans to address entrenched issues of inequality, corruption and the high cost of living.
“The people are out in the streets, and they’re tired of all of these blows to their wallets,” said Luis Arturo Sánchez, secretary general of the teachers’ association in the province of Veraguas, before declaring an indefinite strike on July 4.
Construction workers, Indigenous groups and everyday Panamanians, frustrated with the soaring price of basic goods like food and gasoline, soon joined the striking teachers in demonstrations across the country. Protesters erected roadblocks at some of the country’s main thoroughfares, including the Pan-American Highway, causing enormous traffic backups and some fuel and food shortages.