Students in Panama Clash Over Social Security Reforms

May 27, 2005

PANAMA CITY (EFE) – Hundreds ofstudents on Monday staged violent protestsin the capital against a government plan toreform the social-security administration byraising both the retirement age and workers’required contributions to the fund.Students blocked traffic near theNational Assembly and in front of theUniversidad de Panama.The demonstrators clashed with policein the streets near Congress and severalpeople were injured and arrested, localmedia reported.The National Police said in a statementthat the students threw rocks and otherobjects at officers and at a police station,damaging a private automobile.In the face of the incidents, police cordonedoff Congress, while businesses inthe area closed their doors.The social-security overhaul seeks togradually increase the retirement age from57 to 62 years for women and from 62 to65 years for men.The age hike would take place between2007 and 2015, and workers and businesseswould be required to increase their contributionsto the retirement programbetween 2006 and 2010.

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