February 14 — the city was on edge. What would the labor strike look like this day? One could feel the tension in the air. TV reporters at the hot spots looking to cover any breaking news.
The labor union kept their members under control that day, and held a peaceful march at 4pm to presidents house to make their demands known. Life seemed to be returning to normal.
February 15 — a different day all together.
Violent protests broke out again. Major traffic arteries shut down for at least 4 hours by the protestors. The police manage to round up nearly 450 more workers to detain.
Workers fled into high rise construction projects and started tossing cinder blocks and rebar from the higher floors, including one tower that is approaching 60 stories tall.
Some of the protests were in Paitilla, the ritzy neighborhood next door, where several new towers are under construction, including the Trump tower. Tourists in the area chose to flee (see some of their stories).
How did we experience this? The hotspots for the protests were visible from our windows, though over 1/2 a mile away, meaning we could only hear the emergency vehicles and see the acrid smoke from the tear gas bombs.
We walk in Paitilla nearly every week (that’s where Blockbuster is and a great ocean front park).
The main disruption in our life was that our kids schooling was affected (sent home Wednesday before even arriving, canceled on Thursday, and sent home early on Friday). Our ability to get around town was hindered.
I pray for this country.
Watching the events of this week has fueled more prayer. I was surprised as to how disappointed and hurt I was. Our sense in prayer is that God has a plan for Panama to use missionaries from here to minister in China and the rest of Latin America. The riots of this week were so contrary to the Kingdom that my heart was broken.
My prayer is now, "Lord, the people of this country need to know You and to use this passion to proclaim your renown around the world."
Join us in prayer for Panama.