Protesters have blocked oil truck routes in several towns in Colombia’s central eastern Casanare department for more than a week, said local media Wednesday.
Rodolfo Jose Gonzalez, spokesman for oil company PetroMadgalena, said the protesters are motivated by recent changes to the laws which dictate how oil companies pay royalties to local communities. “The main motivation is the community’s interpretation of the Royalties Law,” said Gonzalez.
However speaking with Radio Nacional, union director Oscar Garcia said the protests were actually sparked by the oil companies and the government failing to respond to a new labor contract that had been presented to them.
Casanare Police Colonel Narciso Martinez said blockades were being instigated by people outside of the community.
Gonzalez concluded, “The blockade has gone on for eight days, [riot police] have entered and attempted to control the roads, but we see no near solution.”
According to government officials up to 15,000 barrels a day of production are being affected.
The blockade in Casanare comes as oil company Emerald Energy suspended operations in southern Colombia due to guerrilla attacks.