The president claimed yesterday that the government was in its right to evict the protesters who are attempting to block the construction of a dam that would flood five towns in order to fuel the Quimbo Hydroelectric plant in the southwester Huilo department.
“Let it be clear that the government shall exercise its authority where it has to be exercised. We will not allow a few to impede the public interests,” said Santos.
Journalist Bladamir Espitia released a video on YouTube showing the police aggressively evicting the peaceful protesters with tear gas grenades, three people were injured. Espitia has since been forced into hiding after receiving numerous death threats accusing her of being an enemy of the state.
“There was an incident where a person actually lost their eye but in general terms- and in the videos- the eviction was carried out as normal, using the more stringent protocol for the defense of human rights and the rights of citizens, the police obeyed their constitutional duties,” said the president in reference to the dispersal of the protester’s camp on February 14.
The Quimbo Hydroelectric plant has caused great controversy since its construction requires the flooding of five towns. While the protesters, consisting of local farmers, fisherman, and environmental activists claim that the project is ecologically destructive and would displace them from their homes and their lively-hoods, high-ranking government officials and business associates assert that the dam will bring money and political power to Colombia which would be able to sell energy to other Latin American countries.