Indigenous protest grows in Colombia against the Duque government

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The indigenous people of southwestern Colombia They will reinforce in Bogotá the national day of protest against the Government, which various unions and popular organizations convened to express their dissatisfaction with the violence that the country is experiencing and the economic and social situation.

The indigenous “minga”As these mobilizations are known in Colombia, he arrived in Bogotá on Sunday from Cali, the main city in the southwest of the country, and on Monday he staged a massive rally in the Plaza de Bolívar, the center of political power, to present his demands to President Iván Duque, with whom they have failed to meet.

Massive support

After the broad support received in the streets of Bogota, those close to 7,000 indigenous that according to their leaders participate in the “minga”, will join the demonstrations with which unions and social movements will resume the protests that were interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, and then plan to return to their places of origin.

“Today we are here supporting the national strike, which also has in the demands the breaches of the National Government (…) Tomorrow the minga will host the national strike in the Plaza de Bolívar, “said Noelia Campo, counselor of the Regional Indigenous Council, at a press conference. del Cauca (CRIC).

Rejection of violence

Wednesday’s protest was called by the National Unemployment Committee, made up of sindicatos and social organizations, to express their rejection of Duque’s economic and social policy, as well as the violence in regions such as Cauca, where most of the indigenous participants in the mobilization come from.

According to the Association of Indigenous Cabildos del Norte del Cauca (ACIN), so far this year 76 community members have been killed in that region, with 84 reservations, it is the department that houses the largest indigenous population in Colombia.

Peaceful demonstrations

The secretary of Government of Bogotá, Luis Ernesto Gómez, stated that as on previous occasions, tomorrow’s day of mobilizations will be held in “different parts of the city”, and asked those who come out to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful manner, following the example of the indigenous people, that have not caused any incidents.

“The indigenous minga, who is now housed in the Palacio de los Deportes, has informed us of their decision to return to the territory. Tomorrow (…) they will greet the organizations of the national civic strike, they will greet their protest day, before returning to the territory, “said Gómez.

While it is time to return to the streets, the “mingueros” remain gathered in the Palacio de los Deportes, in the west of Bogotá, where the Mayor’s Office adapted this coliseum for them to install their tents and spend the nights for as long as you are in the capital.

Without any planned activity, they took advantage of the day to discuss the steps to follow or to rest in that camp, set with traditional music of the indigenous peoples and where you can smell the “sancochos” (typical Colombian dish) that they prepare outdoors or of the meat that they roast over a wood fire.

Ongoing protests

José Alid Liz, indigenous guard of the Togoima reservation, told Efe that they will support the protest on Wednesday because “there are many criteria” that unite them with the protesters, such as the needs experienced by “the Colombian people” and the demands on the Government. that meets the peace agreement signed with the former FARC guerrilla in November 2016.

“We have shown the country and the whole world that peace is being built from indigenous peoples,” said Liz, who stressed that in her demonstration on Monday, “there was no no disturbance, no vandalism situation. “

The guard recalled that this is not the first indigenous protest against the Government, because in 2019 they blocked the Pan-American Highway, which connects Colombia with Ecuador, in demonstrations that lasted 27 days and caused major economic losses.

“We have come since 2019 demanding that the Government sit down to dialogue with us, we did so through the taking of the Panamericana to demand our rights because it is the only way for the government to assist us, “he said.

Teachers strike

While the indigenous people prepare, members of the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) began a 48-hour strike today in which they participate 250,000 teachers, which left about eight million students without classes, virtual at this time.

The secretary of Educational, Pedagogical and Scientific Affairs of Fecode, Miguel Ángel Pardo, explained to Efe that tomorrow they will join the “national strike” because that protest “constitutes a voice of hope for democracy, which today is very severely attacked by the dictatorial character of the Government and a song of hope for life“.

As stated, the reasons for the strike are the defense of life, democracy, peace, social justice and the social rule of law, as well as the right to health; guarantees, conditions and resources for the continuity of the school year at home; comply with the agreements reached by the Government and Fecode in 2019, and the rejection of violence in the protests.

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