Images published on social media exposed Panama's police officers shooting at targets dressed in traditional Arab clothing, including a headdress, during an Israeli-run training course.
The images, which caused controversy online, were published on Twitter by the National Police and the local Israeli chamber of commerce but were later deleted.
The controversy also drew criticism from the Panamanian Committee of Solidarity with Palestine, which said that the course promoted "violence and racism, so that anyone who wears a hijab or something similar can be classified as a terrorist."
They added a request to the government in Panama to discontinue the intervention of foreign countries in training security forces.
"This training constitutes a violation of the protocols referring to the shooting courses that prohibit the use of distinctive figures of the Arab peoples as objects of hatred and persecution," the statement said.
In response, the Panama police force issued an apology: "We are respectful of cultural, religious and ethnic differences. We regret that … a situation arose outside the nature of our mission and duty."
The deleted Twitter posts claimed that the training was organised by the Israeli embassy in Panama.
#Comunicado | Lamentamos que durante un acto en el que como institución participamos como invitados haya surgido una situación ajena a la naturaleza de nuestra misión y deber como primera Institución de seguridad. pic.twitter.com/h2MebZOLR7— Policía Nacional (@ProtegeryServir) October 2, 2021
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