Some ten thousand indigenous protesters arrived in Bogotá Thursday. The
Colombian natives demand serious concessions from the government about
their autonomy, better health care and education and protection from
paramilitary groups that threaten their communities and community
The protesters plan to hold a demonstration Friday on Plaza Bolivar, Bogotá’s main square and political center of the country.
The indigenous will stay on the campus of the National University, Bogotá’s largest public university until Sunday. If the protesters decide to stay longer they will move to the District University.
Bogotá’s Health Secretary declared a state of yellow alert to make sure health care is guaranteed for the indigenous. So far only six indigenous had to be taken to hospital for minor illnesses.
The indigenous protest has been going on for weeks already. It started off in the southern department of Cauca where protesters and riot Police clashed several indigenous protesters were killed. After a 40,000 person march to Cali, President Álvaro Uribe agreed to talks with indigenous leaders.
Despite Uribe’s promise to start returning stolen land to the protesters, the indigenous weren’t satisfied and initiated the march to Bogotá. The return of stolen land was suspended a week later when Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias accused indigenous of being responsible for the death of two Colombian soldiers, killed by a bomb.