Panama Parliament condemns violence in protests against constitutional reforms

SAN SALVADOR (Sputnik) – The National Assembly of Deputies (Parliament) of Panama condemned the protests that forced the suspension of the plenary, amid clashes between protesters and law enforcement. The president of the Legislative body, Marcos Castillero, criticized the violence unleashed in the streets against a package of constitutional reforms, including the recent veto of same-sex marriage.
"The constitutional reforms are not written in stone," said Castillero, who said that the doors of the Assembly are open as long as respect and peaceful demonstrations are given.

The parliamentary head assured that if the march had passed in peace they would have opened the doors for them to enter the chamber of the Justo Arosemena palace, seat of the Isthmus Legislative. The mood was also heated by the homophobic statements of Deputy Jairo "Bolota" Salazar, who said that the protesters were gay and therefore were not allowed to enter the Assembly.

The riot forces dispersed pepper and tear gas to those who surrounded the building and tried to jump its perimeter fence, shouting "No to reforms", burning tires and throwing stones, bottles and other objects. Read more via Sputnik

Activists in Panama reject statements by deputy who said that "gays cannot enter" to the National Assembly

Activists of the LGTBI community rejected Tuesday the comments of Deputy Jairo Salazar Ramirez who said that "gays cannot enter" to the National Assembly.

The statements of the deputy happened in the framework of the protests on Tuesday where numerous civilians, among those protesters of the LGBTI community, protested against a package of constitutional reforms that ended in riots on the grounds of the National Assembly.

"We already said no to gay marriage and period ... That there will be all those brave gays with us, we will not let them in," said the deputy.

"They are Panamanians," a journalist replied to which he replied: "No, they are gay."

Protesters claiming entry to the Legislative Palace caused damage and there was an exchange of stones and pepper gas between Protestants and the Police. Iván Chanis Barahona, president of the Iguales Foundation in Panama, said on Twitter that "I can enter because I am human and my home is in the Republic of Panama." "The Assembly is so mine, so yours, of all," he added.

The protest voices were added by Human Rights activist Ricardo Beteta Bond, who on his Twitter account wrote: “Ignorance and prejudice are the basis of homophobia in our country and the LGTBI community is defenseless against these attacks . Listening to the deputy renews the fight. Many have opened their eyes that homophobia is real and dangerous. ” Read more via CNN