Approximately 6,000 indigenous protesters arrived in the Toliman
capital Ibagué. The protesters are marching from Cali to Bogotá to
demand attention for their problems and the help of the national
government to solve them.
A squadron of mounted police awaited the indigenous protesters refusing them entrance to the city.
The protesters had ignored the order of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe not to go to Ibagué, because of the alleged trouble it would be for local authorities, that are also dealing with evacuated people from the area around the Machín volcano.
“This is yet another example that should be shown to the rest of the
world, of the ongoing attacks that we as indigenous communities are
facing here,” said Luís Evelis Andrade, Chief Council of the National Indigenous Organization of Colombia, ONIC told MAMA radio.
Andrade and others pointed out that theirs was a peaceful protest that,
if anything, would show solidarity with the families displaced by the
unexpected seismic activity of Machín. There was no legitimate reason
to keep them out of the city, other than to sidetrack their message and
keep them from talking directly with the people of Ibagué.
Before marching on to Bogotá the indigenous protesters are expected to be joined by another 1,500 indigenous from the departments of Yolima, Huila and Caquetá.