Local Professor Shoots Climate Activists Blocking the Pan American Highway in Panama
Reportedly, the shooter is Kenneth Darlington 77, a lawyer and a professor with duel American and Panamanian Citizenship.
November 17, 2023
A local lawyer and professor reportedly shot 2 climate protestors blocking The Pan American highway in Panama Wednesday. The Pan American Highway is a 19,000 mile road, goes from Alaska to Argentina. The protests are causing $80M/day losses to business and shuttered schools across the country for a week. Reportedly, the shooter is 77, a lawyer and a professor.
A 77-year-old man shot dead two environmental protesters on Wednesday in an apparent outburst of rage over a roadblock in Panama. Reportedly, the shooter is Kenneth Darlington, a lawyer and a professor with duel American and Panamanian Citizenship.
The gunman was named in local media as Kenneth Franklin Darlington Salas. If he is convicted, the suspect could be sentenced to house arrest rather than being sent to jail because of his age.
The protesters, who were opposed to a controversial mining contract, had blocked the Pan-American Highway in Chame, 51 miles from the capital Panama City.
Footage posted on social media showed the motorist walking from his car, demanding the protesters get out of the road.
Initially, Mr Salas removed tyres which were obstructing the road. The protesters, according to witnesses, shouted at the man: “Are you going to kill someone?”The gunman replied: “You want to be the first?”
He opened fire, first shooting a protester holding a flag and then a second man who went to confront him, before walking off and removing tree trunks that had been blocking the road. He was then arrested.
Local media identified the victims as Abdiel Diaz, a teacher and union activist, and Ivan Mendoza.
The deaths are the first fatalities in protests that broke out on October 20 against a contract that allows Canada-based First Quantum Minerals to operate Central America’s biggest open pit copper mine for at least another 20 years.
The Pan-American Highway is a network of roads stretching across the Americas and measuring about 30,000 kilometres in total length. Except for a break of approximately 106 km across the border between northwest Colombia and southeast Panama called the Darién Gap, the roads link almost all of the Pacific coastal countries of the Americas in a connected highway system