Protesters riot over law on Panama duty-free zone

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 7:37pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 7:40pm

Panama’s anti-riot police have used tear gas and fired into the air to disperse protesters in the Caribbean city of Colon who oppose a new law that allows the sale of state-owned land in the duty-free zone next to the Panama Canal.

Hundreds of protesters burned tires and threw objects at police in Colon’s downtown, but began leaving the area after the confrontation with police. Local media say several people have been detained. Authorities haven’t return calls seeking comment.

Friday’s rioting came a few hours after the National Assembly approved a law that allows land in the duty-free zone to be sold to private companies.

Protesters say the land is already being rented and it makes no sense to sell it.