The protesters and the local authorities of Cali reached an agreement at dawn on Monday to lift a blockade at the main entrance to that Colombian city, while the indigenous minga (march) announced the opening of a humanitarian corridor for 24 hours.
On the thirteenth day of protests, preceded by a day in which alleged armed civilians shot at the minga and wounded 10 indigenous guards, the dialogues ended with the decision to unblock the Paso del Comercio, a highway that in addition to being the main entrance it connects the city with neighboring Palmira, where the international airport is located.
“The Commerce Bridge is going to be unblocked and the institutions must guarantee that there is no violent action against these young people who are going to unblock the bridge, from now on,” said the mayor of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, in a statement this early morning with a group of young people who have been protesting there for 13 days.
The authorities and protesters signed the agreement after talks that had the support of the embassies of Germany, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and the European Union, as well as the UN Mission in Colombia.
“We have observed the signing of the agreement by the Cali Mayor’s Office and local authorities with young people to unblock the Paso del Comercio. It is important to use dialogue to advance the guarantee of human rights, ”said Juliette de Rivero, the representative in Colombia of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The mobilizations in Colombia began against the government’s already withdrawn tax reform but continue against an attempt to reform health care, against police brutality and the complex situation of insecurity.
Cali is where the most violent events have taken place, especially between April 30 and May 3, with episodes of police brutality against protesters that have left 35 dead, according to social organizations.
For its part, the Cauca Regional Indigenous Council (CRIC), the main authority for these communities in southwestern Colombia, announced that from 01:00 am this Monday (06:00 GMT) a “humanitarian corridor” was set up for the transportation of food and medicine in Cali, which is experiencing difficult hours due to shortages.
“It is announced that this path of life opens for 24 hours. Depending on the behavior, it will expand and the national minga continues, the national strike continues ”, said the senior counselor of the CRIC, Hermes Pete.
The indigenous leader added that it is necessary to guarantee “the non-intervention of the public force in the points where the protesters of the minga are,” especially after what happened on Sunday afternoon.
“There will be a humanitarian corridor for 24 hours. This is a first step towards guaranteeing the rights of all people. We urge the authorities to privilege dialogue with the indigenous minga (…) Human rights must be protected through dialogue,” De Rivero said.
DUKE’S VISIT TO CALI
Colombian President Iván Duque made a lightning visit this morning to Cali, the epicenter of the protests that the country has been experiencing since April 28, and stayed there for four hours to head a security council that addressed the situation in that city.
The president asked again that the blockades carried out by the protesters in various parts of the city be lifted to “once again allow the restoration of the supply chain.”
“Our responsibility is not to act with brutality or insaneness, but to act within the framework of all powers and strict adherence to the protection of human rights, so that the city has all the guarantees and avoids confrontations among citizens, or whatever it is. even worse, that there are citizens who intend to exercise control by their hand”, alleged the president.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.