Residents of Ancon, joined the Federation of Communities and environmentalists on Saturday July 7 to block the felling of 40 trees near the Supreme Court.
Some residents tied themselves to trees and others lay on the road to prevent the passage of trucks and workers who were to begin construction of a new parking garage.
The $6.9 million project was awarded in April to Corcione Construction & Asscs SA, to build a five-story structure with 356 parking spaces.
The protesters arrived at 3 am to prevent the cutting of 29 trees and 11 royal palms at the project site.
Two trucks carrying materials and tools to build fences and cut down the trees were detained by residents.
Commissioner Manuel Castillo, head of the Canal Zone Police spoke with the protesters to allow passage of trucks, but no agreement was reached.
Sandra Tapia, one of the leaders, said late Friday the company delivered some leaflets to residents, in which he explained the changes to the project. "That was done to say that there was a public consultation, which never happened," she said.
Tapia also criticized the fact that when Judge Harley Mitchell was President of the court the work was $1.5 million and had now increased to $ 6.9 million.
Environmentalists like Raisa Banfield, of the Panama Sustainable Foundation, and Alida Spadafora, of the National Association for the Conservation of Nature, agreed that the work is not compatible with the protected area of Cerro Ancon.
Banfield said that what is going on with these 40 trees is a reflection of "disrespect" for the environment.
Spadafora, said they suspect that the environmental impact study is not corresponding with the work, and asks the judges of the Court to provide an opportunity to participate in order to propose an alternative to the current project.
The company was quick to react. A statement, said it has all the legal permits to operate, as well as an environmental management plan which includes the rescue of the flora and fauna, planting new trees and a green front "green" to the residents.
A notary at the site drew up a document to reflect that because of the protest, the work did not begin on the date stated in the contract, said La Prensa.