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Scavengers, cops clash at derelict market in Panama

A view of an anti-riot agent during clashes between anti-riot police agents and recyclers, in Panama City, Panama, 07 January 2019. Authorities confronted inhabitants of the Curundu neighborhood who were trying to enter the old market, which is being demolished, to get recyclable materials. EPA-EFE/ Bienvenido Velasco

A view of an anti-riot agent during clashes between anti-riot police agents and recyclers, in Panama City, Panama, 07 January 2019. Authorities confronted inhabitants of the Curundu neighborhood who were trying to enter the old market, which is being demolished, to get recyclable materials. EPA-EFE/ Bienvenido Velasco

EFE

The old Panama City market on Monday was the scene of violent clashes between police and dozens of scavengers who tried to enter the facilities that are being demolished to snatch recyclable materials that they could later sell.

The scavengers threw stones and Molotov cocktails at police, who have been stationed at the doors of the market since Sunday when people began attempting to steal iron and copper, for the most part.

The clashes on Monday took place around the market, located next to the Electoral Tribunal, in a low-income area of the Panamanian capital known as Curundu.

Authorities have yet to reveal if anyone was injured in the melee but television stations showed images of at least one recycler who suffered burns while trying to ignite and hurl one of the homemade Molotov cocktails.

The market, which was already quite dilapidated, closed on Dec. 31 and the vendors moved to the Merca Panama market, a new and modern venue with refrigeration for food items that is located on the outskirts of the capital.

Demolition work at the old market, where a metro station and a public square will be built, began last week.


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