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Indigenous Panamanians have been fighting back against new legislation designed to entice foreign investment to the country’s mining industry.

For two days demonstrators blockaded segments of the Pan-American highway, which links Panama City with Costa Rica. Armed with machetes, bows, spears or arrows and adorned in either face paint or ski masks, the discontented burned tyres and employed tree trunks to stop traffic.

When police moved to clear the barricades there were dozens of injuries. In earlier protests police used tear gas on women and children.

The natives of the land detained the Governor’s assistant and colleague inside their vehicle for 24 hours in another day of anti-mining demonstrations, puncturing their tyres and scribbling, “Now it’s the turn of the Gnabe people” on the vehicle - a jest on the government’s slogan, “Now it’s the people’s turn.” Demos have continued despite a government directive dispensed on Tuesday (1st) banning mining in Indian territory. The government have already opened for tender a copper deposit in Cerro Colorawdo, in Ngobe Bugle territory.

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