Panama earns Guinness record with 5,000 painting kids

PANAMA CITY (AFP) - Panama earned a Guinness world record on Saturday when 5,084 children painted a mural simultaneously for three and a half minutes as part of 100th anniversary celebrations for the Panama Canal, organisers said.

Panamanian painter Olga Sinclair was behind the massive work of art depicting the canal locks at the El Prado promenade in Panama City.

She said she wanted to break the record to encourage "Panama to dream big" and show "that our children can touch the sky with their hands."

The previous record had been held by a group in Saudi Arabia, when some 3,860 participants painted together.

"I was afraid to get dirty, but now I see it was fun," one girl told a local paper.

Another said she "thought it would be crazy, but then I understood."

The 80-kilometre canal, which handles five percent of global maritime trade, was inaugurated on August 15, 1914.

It is currently undergoing an expansion to make it big enough to handle new cargo ships that can carry 12,000 containers, but work has been disrupted by a financial dispute.