An irate motorist has shot dead two environmental protesters blocking a road.
Shocking footage appears to show how the driver, who was caught in traffic, got out of his car and gunned down the demonstrators when they refused to move in Panama.
The pair were participating in a third week of protests against a controversial government mining contract in the country, officials said.
One person was arrested in connection with the incident, Panama’s attorney general said on the social network X, formerly Twitter.
Officials did not say how the demonstrators died while blocking a road in the east of the country, but local reports suggested they were shot by a driver who was blocked when attempting to get past the protest across the middle of a road.
This is the shocking moment one of two environmental protesters blocking a road in Panama was shot dead by an irate driver
Footage appeared to confirm this, showing an elderly man in a great shirt confronting the protesters with a handgun before pulling the trigger.
One man, seen in a black t-shirt holding a flag, got into a heated argument with the man. The video cuts to the man holding the flag falling to the ground.
Seeing the danger they are in, some protesters 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 hobbling away to the side of the road as other protesters run for cover. He is shown a few seconds slumping to the floor.
Pictures of the first victim being treated on the road by others at the scene would later show he was shot in the neck.
It was reported that neither of the men survived their injuries.
A video circulating on social media appeared to show the alleged shooter carrying a gun and removing a tire from the blockade, while a body lies on the road nearby.
One man, seen in a black t-shirt holding a flag, got into a heated argument with the man (lfet). The video cuts to the man holding the flag falling to the ground
the first man to be shot is seen being treated on the ground
Police also published a photo of the detainee – an older man with greying hair and glasses – seated with one hand cuffed to a pipe, either in a police station or van.
The deaths followed local reports that a demonstrator was run over and killed on November 1 by a foreigner attempting to cross a roadblock during a protest 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 obstructed in several spots, hindering transport of food, fuel and medicine.
The contract, given final approval October 20, allows the local subsidiary of Canadian mining company First Quantum Minerals to continue operating an open-pit copper mine in a richly biodiverse jungle west of the capital.
The contract is for the next 20 years – with the possibility of extending for a further 20 years if the mine remains productive.
Police also published a photo of the detainee – an older man with greying hair and glasses – seated with one hand cuffed to a pipe, either in a police station or van. He was earlier seen walking down the road towards the protesters
In an effort to calm tempers, congress last week passed a law that imposes a moratorium on new metal mining contracts and left it up to the Supreme Court to decide on whether to allow the contract with First Quantum Minerals.
Environmentalists have welcomed this decision by lawmakers, saying indeed it is the court that should rule on whether the contract violates the constitution.
But a powerful construction union called Suntracs, teachers unions and other organizations want the contract to be annulled through a law passed by Congress.
As a result, they are continuing their protests.