Since Jan. 31., the indigenous Ngäbe Bugle peoples of Panama have been protesting the Panamanian government’s move to weaken national mining laws by removing a key provision which ensured indigenous rights to be consulted on mining and hydroelectric projects on their lands. The Ngäbe Bugle, whose land encompasses copper deposits estimated at US$150 billion, are joined in solidarity by many Panamanian workers’ unions in a blockade of the Pan-American highway, as well as in protests throughout the country and internationally. Protesters have suffered violent state repression during their demonstrations, with riot-gear laden special police units violently repressing protesters and the surrounding villages. Communication lines and food and water deliveries to the area were reportedly cut two days in advance of the police arrival. Various local sources report that two deaths of indigenous protesters have resulted from clashes with police. As the government repression of the protesters provokes increasing international outcry, local land rights to natural resources once again catch the attention of the international community. Read the Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests press release denouncing the violence against the Ngäbe Bugle, here (Spanish). Read the Council of the North Atlantic Autonomous Region's statement here (Spanish).