07/01/2013 - Different sectors of society expressed concern today about the decision to move the Jan. 9 "Martyrs Day," which marked the date of the 1964 uprising, to today so that there would be a three-day weekend.
Alfonso González, who lost a leg during clashes between students of the National Institute and American soldiers on Jan. 9 1964, said it is "disgusting and offensive" to the martyrs.
"It should be commemorated the same day in which the events occurred," said González, who argued that it is the only way that people can remember that fateful day.
In the midst of a press conference organized by the Citizens Movement for the Preservation of National Identity, different personalities also expressed their disagreement with moving the holiday.
Ana Elena Porras, founder of the movement, said young Panamanians "don't understand" the meaning of the date and for them "it is only a free day." She said that changing the day allows people to "forget" the history of the country.
To Ivan Vásquez, representative of Ancón, the purpose of the holiday is to remind people of the sacrifice that was made.
He announced that tomorrow he would submit a motion to the Municipal Council of Panama to create a special commission to organize the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the events of Jan. 9, which would include visits to schools and the restitution of the school subject "Panama relations with the United States."
Other political leaders who joined the voices of outrage were Mitchell Doens of the PRD and Molirena opposition leader Olimpo Sáez.
Not everyone was opposed to changing the date. President of the Association of Panamanian of Business Executives Roberto Troncoso,pointed out that the bridge day gives a big boost to the Panamanian economy, mainly in the interior of the country.
"Bridge days increase economic activity in the interior by 30 percent," he said.
He said the Jan. 9 events should be taught as part of the national history in schools.
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