With threats of a general strike and country wide protests hanging in the air, Friday, October 26, could prove a difficult day for Panama drivers and public transit users.
The Union of Construction and Allied Workers (SUNTRACS), in conjunction with the National Front for the Defense of Economic and Social Rights (Frenadeso) student organizations, indigenous educators and others are ready to execute a strike 24 hour general strike .
Saul Mendez, head of SUNTRACS told La Prensa on Thursday, that the actions scheduled for, Friday, cater to the demands of the entire country to repeal Law 72, give freedom to all who have been defending their rights and provide compensation to the families affected by the waywardness of the Government.
Mendez added : “You cannot continue to operate in such a clumsy, arbitrary and miserable way and then put the police against the people … Those responsible for giving orders to shoot to kill people with bullets from rifles and automatic assault weapons , must face imprisonment." Three people died from gunshot wounds, a nine year old child, a 29 year old man, and a woman shot in the head while returning from work.
Many office and storeworkers fearing street closures, are preparing to leave early for their jobs, and some passengers with flight bookings at Tocumen International are planning to stay overnight at a hotel near the airport.
President Martinelli is expected to arrive back in Panama in the early hours of the morning and is expected to take action. He has been in touch with his cabinet via Twitter, but no action seems likely without his presence.