The strike in the Colombian region of Catatumbo, which has been held for weeks in the middle of farmer protests and many social outbreaks, was joined by the mining sector, which first day of strike left 2 civilian fatalities. In a communique published yesterday, the National Committee of Mining Strike denounced that 2 people died, one of them as consequence of a stroke for breathing tear gas launched by the Riot Police Squad in Risaralda department.
The most harsh clashes took place in Irra region, where a dozen people were injured and at least 40 children remain hospitalized for the effects of the tear gas.
“The National Committee of Mining Strike firmly rejects the violent repression of the strike carried out by thousands of miners nationwide for the disastrous and anti-national policy lead by Juan Manuel Santos”, said the workers of that sector in the communique.
Artisanal miners from 80 municipalities of 18 regions keep roads blocked, among them those that connect Manizales-Medellin and Cali-Buenaventura, to claim the legalization of middle and small-scale companies, said local media.
On the other hand, the nearly 16,000 farmers that have been on strike since June 11 in Catatumbo, at northern Santander, continue the demonstration that has become the largest and most complicated of Santos’ management, said specialists.
Congresspeople Ivan Cepeda and Angela Robledo arrived yesterday at Tibu, where most of the demonstrators are located, to try to mediate in the negotiations in the middle of the continuous repressions performed by the public force, which only in that municipality has 2,000 officers.
“We are willing to accompany and protect farmers from that arbitrariness, because it would be terrible that such actions happen again and lose more human lives”, said Cepeda in a press release.
Catatumbo demonstration, which began as a peaceful action, has left 4 fatalities and more than 50 injured farmers.