PANAMA CITY (AP) — Police fired tear gas Sunday to clear blockades of the Pan-American highway by indigenous groups protesting changes to the mining law. One person was killed and 39 injured in the resulting clashes.
Security Minister Jose Raul Mulino said police broke up the blockades after members of the Ngobe-Bugle tribe in western Panama refused calls for dialogue.
Protest leader Liborio Miranda said a 26-year-old indigenous man was shot dead in the chest.
"It was a cowardly attack," Miranda said of the early morning police operation. Indigenous activists had started blocking the key highway linking Panama and Costa Rica on Monday.
In retaliation, protesters burned a police station in retaliation in San Felix, located 250 miles (400 kilometers) west of the capital.