Six people, including a reporter, arrested in Panama during protests

Panama - The protests by students and popular movements in front of the National Assembly and the arrest of a journalist from La Estrella de Panama who was covering the demonstrations have made headlines here on Friday.

The arrest of a journalist from La Estrella de Panama, Juan Cajar, is unacceptable. This police performance shattered President (Laurentino) Cortizo's commitment to free press and freedom of expression,' the newspaper director, Gerardo Berroa, wrote on Twitter.

A communiqué from the National Police pointed out that a group of demonstrators tried to cross the fence surrounding the building 'forcing the police units to safeguard the facilities of the legislative hemicycle and those in it', so six people 'who did not comply with the verbal orders' were arrested.

Regarding the detained reporter, the communiqué assured that 'after the action of apprehension and in the police station, one of the detainees produced a press card that he did not have at the time of the police operation'; however, videos from local media show the reporter when he was showing his credential repeatedly to the officers.

'I was covering the protest while duly identified as a journalist from La Estrella de Panama and the police, without a word, arrested me without any explanation, even though I showed my card from the newspaper I was arrested,' Cajar said before being forced into the police car, after being brought to the ground.

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