Employees of the port at the Pacific end of the Panama Canal stopped most operations in a strike to demand payment of bonuses, and students protesting the delays clashed with police, sources said.

Luis Asprilla, secretary general of the Workers' Association, said the strike by most of the port's 800 employees paralyzed cargo and fueling operations Monday and stopped food and water supplies to ships.He said the strike would continue indefinitely.

Panama Canal operations were not affected.

Panama's once-thriving economy has been hard-hit by several months of political protests demanding the ouster of Gen. Manuel Noriega, U.S. sanctions imposed to force the general to leave, and a period when banks were closed or handled only limited operations. Business sources say the economy is about half what it was in early 1987.