Government officials reached an agreement with protesters in southwestern Colombia Tuesday that will suspend an eight-day civic strike in the region, according to the national Ombudsman’s Office.
After a long day of mediation overseen by the Ombudsman’s Office, the strike leaders agreed to enter into negotiations that will reportedly be led by the vice-minister of the interior and are set to begin this Thursday.
The talks include a preliminary agenda of five points and will focus on access to drinkable water, education, health care, transportation infrastructure, and other government services, as well as widespread regional corruption, according to the Ombudsman’s Office.
Due to the fears of reprisal expressed by protestors, the Ombudsman submitted a request that a team from the National Protection Unit (NPU) gaurantee the strike leaders’ safety, which was subsequently granted by the Ministry of Interior.
The demonstrations broke out eight days ago in several municipalities in Colombia’s Pacific coastal region, with the locals claiming to have suffered from days of energy blackouts and general neglect from the government.
According to the Cali-based El Pais newspaper, protests mobilized over 240,000 people in the remote area.
Tuesdya’s initial agreements should allow the resumption of commercial activity in the region, which had been suspended in much of the area since protests broke out last week.
- Con mediación de la Defensoría, Gobierno y líderes del paro cívico en Guapi firman acta de acuerdo para inicio de negociaciones (The Ombudsman’s official website)
- Paro Cívico En Zona Pacífico Afecta A Cauca Y Nariño (El Pais)