Protesters in Colombia clash with oil company and take hostages | Protests News


A civilian and police officer have died in violent demonstrations calling for Emerald Power to put money into rural communities.

Caracas, Venezuela – Colombia’s Defence Minister Ivan Velasquez and the commander of its armed forces, Helder Giraldo, have landed in Caqueta province to hunt the discharge of dozens of cops and oilfield staff taken hostage throughout lethal protests.

At the least 79 cops and 9 oilfield staff have been held since Tuesday, as protesters demand that the oil firm Emerald Power put money into surrounding rural communities.

An officer and civilian died in confrontations between riot police and protesters on Thursday, as demonstrators took management of the oil firm’s workplaces. Police sources point out that the civilian was shot to dying, whereas the officer suffered a stab wound.

“The murder of Subintendant Ricardo Arley Monroy, who was mercilessly killed when he was defenceless within the energy of his captors, deserves common repudiation,” Velasquez tweeted late on Thursday, referring to the police officer killed. “Nothing, nothing justifies this act.”

Different cupboard ministers are anticipated to hitch Velasquez and Giraldo on Friday in San Vicente del Caguan, a city in southern Colombia the place a lot of the violence is centred. They embody Minister of the Inside Alfonso Prada and Minister of Transportation Guillermo Reyes.

Colombian Defence Minister Ivan Velasquez has travelled to San Vicente del Caguan to deal with demonstrations by rural residents [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

On Friday, the workplace of Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, introduced that six oilfield staff remained within the protesters’ custody, down from the 9 reported earlier within the week. There was no replace on the variety of cops held, nevertheless.

“It’s essential that farmers free the police that they’ve of their custody,” Velasquez tweeted.

Petro echoed requires the hostages’ launch. “I insist on the unilateral launch of the cops,” he posted on Twitter. “The safety of their integrity is important for the federal government.”

Twenty-two protesters have additionally been injured, based on an area farming affiliation concerned within the demonstrations.

Police informed the information company Reuters that dissidents from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a disbanded insurgent group, may very well be concerned within the violence. In 2016, the FARC signed a peace deal that some members rejected, in favour of continued armed motion.

However Alexander Ospina, a spokesperson for the communities concerned within the protests, informed Al Jazeera he had seen no indication of involvement from FARC dissidents. He mentioned such rumours appeared meant to delegitimise the agricultural communities’ struggle.

Protesters have known as for Emerald Power to assist repair roads and put money into native establishments, together with colleges. As a part of the unrest, members of native communities have blocked entry to one of many firm’s oilfields.

Gustavo Petro speaks at a podium in front of a painting and a Colombian flag
President Gustavo Petro has known as for the hostages to be launched as tensions between an oil firm and rural communities ramp up [File: Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

Ospina mentioned demonstrators are ready for the arrival of presidency officers to start talks. They hope to succeed in a take care of the federal government over what they think about Emerald Power’s obligation to construct infrastructure for native communities and supply compensation for environmental harm.

“To de-escalate the scenario, we have to signal agreements with the federal government that correspond to our actuality,” Ospina mentioned. “If the oil corporations don’t wish to put money into our communities, then the federal government ought to take away the oil corporations from our lands.”

However Prada, Colombia’s Inside minister, has introduced that the federal government will solely absolutely enter negotiations with the protesters as soon as the hostages are freed.

“Now we have mentioned that a completely insurmountable requirement to take a seat down to speak with a big physique of the nationwide authorities in relation to the social problems with the group is of course the speedy launch of our members of the Nationwide Police and 6 staff,” Prada mentioned.

About 4,000 farmers, representing greater than 150 farming and Indigenous communities, are current for the protests, Ospina mentioned.

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