Panamanian Indigenous People Protest Anti-Mining Law

Date of publication: 
30 January 2012

Panama – Panamanian indigenous people on Monday will march against a draft mining bill the National Assembly is discussing, from which an article prohibits the exploration and exploitation of minerals in the region of Ngobe Bugle.

Alberto Montezuma, member of the Coordinating Committee for the Defense of the Rights of the Ngobe Bugle People, leads the rally along with other indigenous leaders, in the community of San Felix, Chiriqui, stage of previous protests.

The indigenous leader said the protests began on Sunday with mobilizations from the Ngobe Bugle mountain range of hundreds of compatriots. They are opposed to the exclusion from the new bill of an article that annuls concessions granted by previous government.

In Changuinola, in Bocas del Toro province, at least 300 indigenous people from different sectors of the province on Sunday closed the road from Almirante to Changuinola, through the community of Tibite, and announced they will do it again today.

The bill, including nine articles, was approved after many months of meetings with the indigenous people. They do not understand the reason why the article that protects the community, located in the western region of Panama, was eliminated.