Colombian truckers agree to stop disrupting traffic in Bogota, but will continue their strike after a second round of failed talks with the government over fixed freight rates.
Colombia’s Transport Minister German Cardona announced the end of the roadblock after talks with representatives of the striking truckers. The talks followed an escalation of actions by the truckers and the government’s threat to violently break up the roadblocks that were seriously disturbing the traffic in Bogota.
Earlier Wednesday, the government ordered anti-riot police to the scenes of protest and threatened to violently clear the roads. But in response, the truckers called their wives and children to join the protest, which prevented riot police from taking action. Instead, the truckers blocked two more roads.
According to truckers association ACC, the transport minister initially refused to meet with representatives and it took mediation by Vice President Angelino Garzon — a former union leader — to arrange a meeting between the two opposing parties.
Despite not reaching agreement to end the strike, the truckers did agree to end the road blocks and continue their strike without public order disturbances.
Tens of thousands of truckers have been on strike for over a week to demand that the government reinstall a minimum freight rate. The government refuses this.