Medium and small size miners will strike indefinitely on July 17 to force the government to change policies they say benefit multinationals over domestic miners.
Luz Stella Ramirez, the director of the national federation of Colombian miners, stated that there will be a cessation of mining activities in 18 of Colombia’s 32 departments.
The demonstrations will be held on the main roads of these departments, which include the main mining departments Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda and Cauca.
Ramirez maintains that these will be peaceful demonstrations and the organization is not planning on shutting down traffic. “The activity is peaceful and will not allow for the infiltration of violence. People are not being pushed to block roads.”
According to the organizers of the strike, the demonstrations are protesting the policies of the government, which they believe are “exterminating small mining by delivering titles to multinationals.”
In addition to this, the strike is remonstrating the lack of ways miners can formalize, claiming that many have been left in “limbo.”
Police have the power to destroy the machinery of small miners which they suspect advance criminal activity, and without mechanisms to formalize, Conarminercol president Ramiro Restrepo claims that miners are being imprisoned without evidence of their guilt.
The miners’ announcement came a month after farmers in the northeast of the country closed roads to demand attention of ongoing poverty in their region. A wave of protests from a variety of sectors, including that of the iconic coffee sector, is scheduled for August.