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University students, workers protest in Panama to back nationwide strike

07-13-2010 14:34 BJT

PANAMA CITY, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Students and workers from the University of Panama (UP) demonstrated on Monday in Panama City to support the nationwide strike.

Damian Espino, general secretary of the UP Employees Association, said the protest was aimed to support the national strike, called by union groups in protest of the controversial Law 30.

The law restricts the right of workers to strike and limits the right to join trade unions, he said.

The protests, organized by the banana workers' union, turned violent last week in Bocas del Toro province, leaving two protestors dead and more than 200 injured.

The students and workers expressed their opposition to the government's actions against union leaders, professors and members of the civil organizations who supported the 10-day strike by the banana workers, said Espino.

But Education Minister Lucy Molinar said those striking professors will be asked to work during this summer break and their salaries will be cut.

The Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture of Panama (CCIAP) rejected the national strike, saying "it will not benefit the country but affect the normal functioning in both Panama's development and creating more jobs."

It also asked that all social sectors to "make efforts to realize a sincere dialogue."

"We urge both sides to recognize their mistakes and not to spread them to other regions."

President Ricardo Martinelli on Monday visited injured strikers and those hospitalized after the violent clashes with riot police last week, pledging to provide best medical treatment for the injured

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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