Troops deployed in protest-hit Colombia
- Published: 30/08/2013 at 09:49 PM
- Online news:
President Juan Manuel Santos ordered troops to provide security in Bogota and patrol Colombia's highways Friday after violent protests in support of striking farmworkers left two dead in the capital.
A Colombian soldier patrols a street in Bogota, on August 30, 2013. President Juan Manuel Santos ordered troops to provide security in Bogota and patrol Colombia's highways Friday after violent protests in support of striking farmworkers left two dead in the capital.
"Last night, I ordered the militarization of Bogota and I will do the same today in any municipality or area that needs the presence of our soldiers," he said in a speech broadcast on radio and television.
Santos said he had ordered the deployment of up to 50,000 troops on the nation's highways, which have been targeted with protests and blockages by striking farmworkers since August 19.
Santos said two people were killed Thursday in Bogota where demonstrators mounted large marches that ended in violent clashes with police.
His government has accused leftist guerrillas of infiltrating the marches to sow violence. The demonstrations in Bogota marked the first time that the farmworkers' rural protests had spread to the capital and other cities.
A spokesman for the Bogota mayor's office said soldiers would patrol the city "in coordination with the police."
Santos said the military would work with the police nationwide "to help with the mobility of our highways."
He said the air force had been ordered to make its fleet of transport planes available to fly food and other essentials into the capital if necessary.
Farmers, hit by rising costs and competition from imports, are demanding increased agricultural subsidies and other relief.
Miners, truck drivers, students and workers have joined the protests, each with their own set of grievances.
About the author
- Writer: AFP
Position: News agency