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Police clear protesters from Panama's congress

Student protesters from the state-run Panama University sit on the fence outside the National Assembly where lawmakers are debating constitutional reforms that would affect university education in Panama City, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. Protesters disagree with a proposal to remove state oversight on how private universities design the degrees they offer, and to exempt private universities from paying taxes. (AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco)

PANAMA CITY — Opponents of proposed constitutional reforms have been cleared from Panama’s congress with pepper spray fired by police.

Hundreds of demonstrators tried to storm Congress Tuesday, and some made it into the front door, while others knocked down part of a perimeter fence.

It was the third day of protests against reforms to the country’s constitution that give more power to Congress.

Proponents of same-sex marriage are angry that proposal was dropped from the reform package.

Some demonstrators say the reforms haven’t included public input. The reforms also allow Congress to change the national budget, set its salary and oversee investigations of judges and prosecutors.

The Associated Press