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Panama backs off land sale after deadly clashes

© AFP

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-10-24

Panama President Ricardo Martinelli said Wednesday that he will abandon plans to sell state-owned land in a duty-free zone on the Panama Canal after three days of deadly clashes between residents and security forces.

Panama’s president says he is willing to cancel plans to sell state-owned land in a duty-free zone on the Panama Canal following protests in the city of Colon.

President Ricardo Martinelli says in his Twitter account that “if the people of Colon don’t want the land in the duty-free zone to be sold, the sale will be cancelled.”

Three people have died in protests since Friday. Heavily armed police used tear gas and fired shots in the air to disperse the rioters.

Protesters object to legislation signed in to law Friday that will let export-import businesses buy land they are now leasing in the duty-free zone.

Late Tuesday, Martinelli’s economy minister had offered to use proceeds from such sales for development projects in Colon.

(AP)

Date created : 2012-10-24

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