Panama’s National Assembly sat through a marathon all night session on Saturday October 27, before giving a unanimous second reading to a bill to repeal a law that led to nine days of protests, three deaths, vandalism, and looting.
The demonstrations finally led to the virtual shut down of the the capital city.
Bill 72, which was created and passed by the majority ruling Democratic Change party, allowed the sale of land in the Colon Free Zone ( ZLC). It was opposed by multiple groups including business organizations, workers, unions, and civil liberty associations
The second debate, began shortly after midnight and the voting ended at 8:43 am ith 57 votes in favor and no abstentions
The third debate will begin at 12:01 am on Sunday, October 28 and submitted to the executive on the same day.
Meanwhile, Panameñista deputy Miguel Salas announced the creation of a commission to investigate the events in Colon.
Salas said that the committee would include members human rights organization, to clarify what happened in the protests against Law 72.
PRD deputy Rogelio Paredes said Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli had "not understood" the unanimous message of the Panamanian people: “no means no”
He recalled the aftermath left by the imposition of the "sausage law" adopted by the Martinelli government with the support of Panameñistas, and the mining law, with its consequent deaths, injuries and arrests.
After receiving multiple Twitter messages from President Martinelli inthe midst of an Asian tour, The National Assembly rushed , to start proceedings to to repeal Act 72 which created nation wide protests ,looting, vandalism and street closures in the capital.
The actions left three dead, six injured and 202 arrested.
Meanwhile, the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Panama estimated that the protests of the past nine days caused losses of between $30 million to $40 million.
On Friday night, October 26, Panama City was like a ghost town with malls and many restaurants closed following afternoon looting and vandalism in Calidonia and Plaza Cinco de Mayo.