An angry motorist shot dead two environmental protesters who were blocking a road.
Shocking footage shows how the driver, stuck in traffic, got out of his car and shot protesters as they refused to drive into Panama.
The two men were participating in a third week of protests against a controversial government mining contract in the country, officials said.
One person was arrested Tuesday in connection with the incident, Panama’s attorney general said on the social network X, formerly Twitter.
Authorities have not said how the protesters died while blocking a road in the east of the country, but local reports suggest they were shot by a driver who was blocked while trying to cross the demonstration in the middle of a road.
This is the shocking moment an angry motorist shot dead an environmental protester in Panama. He then shot another man during the incident before being arrested.
Footage appears to confirm this, showing an elderly man in a large shirt confronting protesters with a handgun before pulling the trigger.
A man, seen in a black t-shirt holding a flag, got into a heated argument with the man. The video shows the man holding the flag falling to the ground.
Seeing the danger that threatens them, some demonstrators move away from the man.
However, another man wearing a black t-shirt stays to confront the older man and is also shot. He is shown limping away to the side of the road as other protesters run for cover. He is shown for a few seconds slumped on the ground.
Photos of the first victim being treated on the road by others at the scene later showed he was shot in the neck.
It was reported that none of the men survived their injuries.
A video circulating on social media appears to show the suspected shooter carrying a gun and removing a tire from the blockade, while a body lies in the road nearby.
Police also released a photo of the detainee – an elderly man with graying hair and glasses – sitting with one hand handcuffed to a pipe, either at a police station or in a van. He had previously been seen walking down the road towards the protesters.
A man, seen in a black t-shirt holding a flag, got into a heated argument with the man (lfet). The video shows the man holding the flag falling to the ground.
This is the shocking moment one of two environmental protesters blocking a road in Panama was shot dead by an angry driver.
First man shot is seen being treated on the ground
A second man also confronted the gunmen. This photo was taken moments before he was also shot by an angry motorist in Chame, Panama.
A protester is seen lying on the ground after being shot by a man amid a teachers’ blockade on the Pan-American Highway.
Police also released a photo of the detainee – an elderly man with graying hair and glasses – sitting with one hand handcuffed to a pipe, either at a police station or in a van.
The deaths followed local reports that a protester was knocked down and killed on November 1 by a stranger while trying to pass through a road blockade during a demonstration in the west of the country.
Several avenues in the capital were blocked Tuesday by small groups of protesters, while the Pan-American Highway was blocked in several places, hampering the transport of food, fuel and medicine.
The contract, definitively approved on October 20, allows the local subsidiary of the Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals to continue to operate an open-cast copper mine in a jungle rich in biodiversity west of the capital.
The contract is for the next 20 years – with the possibility of extending it for a further 20 years if the mine remains productive.
A man is seen holding a gun after walking up to a blockade of teachers on the Pan American Highway in Chame.
A man is arrested after shooting a gun at two protesters amid a teachers’ blockade on the Pan-American Highway in Chame, Panama
People react after seeing a man shoot a gun at two protesters amid a teachers’ blockade on the Pan-American Highway
In an effort to calm tempers, Congress passed a law last week that placed a moratorium on new metals mining contracts and left it up to the Supreme Court to decide whether to allow the contract with First Quantum Minerals.
Environmentalists welcomed this decision by lawmakers, saying that in fact it is the court that should decide whether the contract violates the constitution.
But a powerful construction union called Suntracs, teachers unions and other organizations want the contract canceled by a law passed by Congress.
As a result, they continue their protests.