Fourteen people have been arrested and 27 policemen injured as the Colombian agrarian strikes enter day three, police said on Wednesday.
According to Colombia’s chief of Police, General Roberto Palomino, 14 people have been arrested for unlawfully erecting roadblocks in different parts of the country and a total 27 police officers have been injured during the three days of the strike.
Colombian farmers and small-scale miners have been protesting in a number of states across the country to highlight promises they claim the government has not delivered since the previous agrarian strikes last fall.
Agrarian Dignity leaders who represent the disgruntled “campesinos” have entered their second day of dialogue with the government after Tuesday’s day-long talks failed to provide an agreement between the parties.
Arrests and Injuries
Twenty-seven police officers have allegedly been injured throughout the three days of strikes. No civilian injuries have been reported.
However, the Minister of Interior Aurelio Iragorri Valencia commented on one of the recent attacks through the Ministry of Interior’s twitter feed stating “I’m sure the farmers of Huila [state] were not the ones who attacked a police officer of ESMAD [riot police].”
— MININTERIOR (@MinInterior) April 30, 2014
Public transport issues
Police have begun escorting some bus routes between the capital Bogota and nearby La Calera where bus drivers had been refusing to service their routes due to security fears.
Dialogues with Government continue
Dialogues between the government and the agrarian leaders are set to continue on Wednesday afternoon after Tuesday’s marathon 10-hour meeting with the Minister of Agriculture Ruben Dario Lizarralde failed to bring about a stop the strikes.
Agrarian leader Cesar Pachon told Colombia Reports they are getting no clarity from the government during the talks.
“In the dialogue there is no clarity, they don’t want to take responsibility for what is happening,” he said and added that agrarian leaders are now seeking a meeting with President Juan Manuel Santos as he is the one who needs to make the decisions.
“Yesterday we spoke about credits for the farmers and issues of imports, because they want to turn us into an import country, and the minister [Ruben Darío Lizarralde] told us that the president is the only one who had the authority to make those decision,” Pachon said.
As an agreement with the government on Wednesday afternoon seems unlikely, Pachon confirmed that the strikes will continue and speculated a higher turnout on Thursday as the country marks labor day, historically a day of worldwide labor protests.
- Interview with Cesar Pachon (Colombia Reports)
- Policia reporta 14 capturas en movilizaciones del sector agrario (El Espectador)
- Policia reporta 3 bloqueos de vias en el Huila y 14 capturas por paro (El Tiempo)
- 14 detenidos y 27 policías heridos, el balance de tres días de paro agrario (El Pais)
- Avanzan dialogos de MinAgricultura (Ministry of Agriculture Press Release)
- Ministry of Interior (Twitter)