Hundreds of Colombian workers blocked two bridges on the Colombian-Venezuelan border on Thursday to protest Venezuela’s crackdown on cross-border smuggling of food and fuel.
The protesters shut down traffic on the international Simon Bolivar bridge that connects the Colombian northeastern city of Cucuta with the Venezuelan border town San Antonio del Tachira.
The workers are also blocking the second most important bridge between the two countries, the Francisco de Paula Santander bridge between Cucuta and the Ureña municipality in Venezuela.
The Venezuelan military increased its presence at the border to stop Colombians smuggling food and fuel from Venezuela to sell them at a profit in Colombia.
Responding to the protest, both countries have sent troops to the border to disperse the workers and to ensure the uninterrupted flow of traffic on the two bridges.
The smuggling is a common practice at the Colombia-Venezuela border and until recently authorities generally turned a blind eye to it.