Protesters reduce roadblocks in Colombia, but fail to reach agreement with government – 06/01/2021 – World

The National Strike Committee, which represents some of the demonstrators mobilized for more than a month in Colombia, announced the removal of at least 40 roadblocks as “a gesture of goodwill”, thus showing the government of President Iván Duque a willingness to negotiate.

“We don’t call them blockages, we call them centers of resistance, and we will slowly remove them to show that we want to negotiate. We want our proposals to be taken into account,” said Nelson Alarcón, one of the group leaders.

The president’s spokesperson for dialogue with the strikers, Emilio Archila, however, found the proposal unacceptable. “The fact that they are blocking the roads, however numerous they are, is a crime and will be treated as such. We will not accept half measures as if they were concessions,” he said. told Blu Radio.

The members of the committee say they want to establish a new dialogue with the president, which conditions the conversation to the restoration of the circulation of the roads. Alarcón also said the partial release is an incentive for the government to stop keeping army troops in cracking down on protests.

In the meantime, new events are planned for Wednesday (2).

The Ombudsman’s office said the will to lift the blockages is positive, but that in some areas those that have been maintained continue to cause serious shortages, especially in the Valle del Cauca, whose capital is Cali, and in Huila, Arauca, Norte de Santander, Nariño, Cundinamarca and Putumayo.

Friday evening (28), Duque ordered the mobilization of military troops in Cali, Colombia’s third largest city, after violent protests that left at least 13 dead during the day.

This month of protests, at least 49 people have died, according to the official count. The prosecution has established that at least 17 cases are directly linked to the protests, but the NGO Human Rights Watch says it has complaints of 63 deaths, 28 of which are linked to the crisis.

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