Prensa Latina | 23 May 2007
Mass Demonstrations in Colombia
Bogota, May 23 (Prensa Latina) — Hundreds of thousands of Colombians joined the national strike in a score of cities on Wednesday to protest against the free trade agreement and the government’s neoliberal policies, and to support public education.
The strike was called by the main trade unions in the country and was backed by the Alternative Democratic Party, Colombia’s major opposition force, and student organizations.
Despite the heavy rains falling in the capital, 11 columns that departed from public universities and other areas of the city met at the busy Bolivar Square.
Demonstrations also took place in the city of Ibague, where clashes between students and the police were reported, and Santa Marta, where demonstrators blocked a major highway for hours.
In Quibdo, the capital of Choco, Colombia’s poorest department, the indigenous communities demanded that the government heed their social demands.
Peaceful demonstrations were also held in Medellin, Cali, Armenia and other Colombian cities, where demonstrators condemned the free trade agreement, the 2007-2010 national development plan and the privatization of major companies, such as ECOPETROL.