Police officials reported that FARC guerrillas intended to put pressure on the locals to support the miners strike and to participate in the protest. The FARC have also announced the possibility of sending militants to “commit armed actions or terrorist acts,” according to radio station Caracol Radio.
According to the commander of the Bajo Cauca Police Department, several measures have been taken to ensure public order and prevent altercations during the strike, which reached over 700 people in Antioquia Sunday.
Authorities said that it is within the miners’ constitutional rights to protest, but only if it is peaceful, and it is the direct responsibility of the protest leaders if there are any anomalies affecting citizen safety.
Concerning FARC influence in the strike, police said, “if there are people of subversion or of criminal gangs infiltrated in the movement… they [strike leaders] should inform us.”
The strike in Bajo Cauca is part of a nationwide protest of some 250,000 miners who claim that the government is handing over their livelihood to multinational companies.
The FARC, along with other rebel groups, have taken advantage of gold mining as a lucrative means to finance their movements.
Colombian authorities previously alleged illegal armed groups would attempt to infiltrate social protests like that of students or indigenous.