Panamanians on Wednesday (9 January) commemorated the 16th anniversary of the anti-American rioting in which 22 Panamanians and three American soldiers were killed.
GV, LV AND SV: Demonstrators carrying national flags and anti-American banners through the streets of Panama City. (3 shots)
SV PAN: Panamanian flag at half mast
LV: People gathered in front of plaza
LV AND CU: Mother of martyr and Mayor of Panama City unveiling monument and plaque in memory of dead and crowd applaud. (4 shots)
CU: Mayor of Panama City speaking in Spanish
SV PAN FROM: Wreath TO student leader speaking.
GV AND LV: Flag at half mast and mass procession through the streets. (2 shots)
CU AND LV PAN: Panamanian soldier watches as procession passes through streets (2 shots)
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Background: Panamanians on Wednesday (9 January) commemorated the 16th anniversary of the anti-American rioting in which 22 Panamanians and three American soldiers were killed. Speakers at a mass rally denounced the United States for its continued occupation of the Canal Zone and also voiced their protest over the Shah's presence in Panama.
SYNOPSIS: Thousands marched through the streets of Panama City to stage the first rally in the formerly U.S. administered Canal Zone. The rally marked violent anti-American demonstrations in Panama 16 years ago. 25 people were killed in 1964 during the riots and hundreds injured. The riots led to a new Panama Canal treaty.
Among the demonstrators was the mother of the first student to be killed in the riots 16 years ago, and together with the mayor of Panama City, she unveiled a monument and plaque in memory of the dead. The mayor then announced the name of the square where the rally was held to be changed to Ascanio Arosemena in honour of the dead student.
Afterwards it was time for speeches. Panama has complained that despite the new canal treaty which provides for the handover of the vital waterway a law passed by the U.S. congress has placed the canal's governing commission under the ultimate authority of the U.S. defence secretary, and that was unacceptable.
Throughout the rally, the Panamanian flag was flown at half mast. It was the raising of the Stars and Stripes without the Panamanian flag which started the riots 16 years ago.
The demonstration in Panama City was one of three throughout the country. All were organised by students and supported by the authorities. A number of government officials were among the demonstrators. Despite widespread dissatisfaction with the United States, particularly its attitude towards the Canal Treaty, the rallies which altogether were attended by about 30 thousand people all ended peacefully.