A wave of strikes by Colombian farmers and truck drivers in the capital of Bogota has killed one person and injured 62 police officers.
The protest rallies and strikes, which included roadblocks, began Monday and continued into Tuesday and further resulted in the arrest of 61 protesters.
The fatality occurred when a motorcyclist crashed on a road between Bogota and Tunja after being struck by a tear gas canister fired by Colombian police officers, according to local reports.
Injuries to police officers, however, are reportedly minor.
Protesting farmers shut down 13 roads and demanded greater government support to market their coffee and rice crops.
This is while the protesting truck divers demanded reduced fuel prices.
Five protest rallies were reportedly held in Bogota alone.
Meanwhile, Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has declared that while his US-backed government guaranteed the right to wage strikes, it would deploy law enforcement officers to keep roadways open.
Earlier this year Colombian coffee farmers demanded assistance from the government as their incomes declined as the result of crop failures and slack in international prices.
While the government negotiated with farmers and pledged to allocate subsidies for income support, representatives of Colombia’s coffee industry insist that the funds are there but the access isn’t.
Workers and students in Bogota, meanwhile, shared their indignation in the central plaza of the capital city over what they described as Santos’ failed promises.
Leading up to the August 19 protest date, President Santos emphasized that there would be no negotiations during a strike.
Peaceful protest, he said, “is a fundamental part of any democracy.” But “strikes that block roadways and compromise the rights of other citizens are another thing entirely.”