Catatumbo organisations criticise aggressive state response to national strike

Justice For Colombia News | on: Monday, 30 October 2017

Strike organisers in the department of Catatumbo have condemned authorities' response to the national strike currently taking place across Colombia.

In a joint statement, the Catatumbo Peasant Association, the National Coordinator of Coca, Poppy and Marijuana Growers and the Patriotic March said that state forces have repressed demonstrations, while the state has failed to engage in dialogue with organisers.

'We declare our indignation at the National Government's way of acting towards our demands,' said the statement. 'Firstly, last 26 October the executive failed to fulfil its announcement to address our list of demands, then, without listening to our regional spokespersons or renewing the de-escalation agreement, it decided to implement a frontal attack against the region's peasant farmers'.

Strike demands include full implementation of terms of the 2016 peace agreement around land reform and land restitution, as well as rural infrastructural development aimed at improving poor conditions in the Colombian countryside which are widely viewed as causal factors in conflict. Strike organisers are also calling on the government to provide security for social and political organisers, with over 100 people murdered so far in 2017.

Catatumbo has seen a heavy approach from Colombian ESMAD riot police to breaking up land occupations and roadblocks. Similar clashes have also occurred in the southern department of Cauca.

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