The main route to Buenaventura, Colombia’s main port on the Pacific coast, has been cleared by security forces amid protests by miners, reported local media on Friday.
The road leading to Buenaventura had been blocked by miners for two days, in the midst of strikes against government mining policies.
According to Caracol Radio, the route was cleared early Friday morning after a joint operation carried out by forces of the police, navy, and army.
The operation led to the arrest of 50 demonstrators who occupied the road between the towns of Cordoba and Zaragoza.
Miners are currently protesting against a decree authorizing the destruction of machinery used in illegal mining, claiming it is damaging the informal mining sector.
Demonstrations, however, turned violent on Wednesday as protesters clashed with security forces, resulting in two deaths.
President Juan Manuel Santos has defended the decree, stating he has no interest in destroying “artisan mining,” only in ending the “criminal mining that is destroying our forests and rivers.”
According to the miners, the government is trying to favor multinational mining companies by determining artisan miners as illegal miners while disallowing them to formalize their businesses.
- Cincuenta detenidos durante desbloqueo de vía a Buenaventura (Caracol Radio)