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  • Esmad police clash with miners during a protest in Segovia, Antioquia

    Esmad police clash with miners during a protest in Segovia, Antioquia | Photo: teleSUR

Published 22 August 2017

Miners have denounced police repression during anti-government protests, which have entered their second month.

The Colombian miners protesting against the government have denounced human rights abuses and murders of community members, more than a month into their strike in the northeast region of Antioquia.

Man Dies During Clashes Between Colombian Miners and Police

The indefinite strike began on July 21 in Antioquia, where miners in Segovia and Remedios have rejected government policies that favor large foreign companies instead of local artisanal and ancestral mining.

Over 10,000 artisanal and ancestral Colombian miners started protesting against the expansion plans of multinational mining companies. The miners said their demonstrations have been heavily repressed by state authorities on several occasions.

The government action that exacerbated the conflict was the implementation of Decree 1102, which made it harder for local miners to continue operating their personal businesses.

The protests have resulted in three people dead and several injured, as well as cases of alleged repression by Colombian anti-riot police, known as ESMAD.

The mining strike continues in Segovia and Remedios. Monday marks 32 days.

At this moment Esmad is attacking the population of Segovia as people run away.

"We will not lift the demonstrations until we have the guarantee of the government that in the future it will not come to exterminate our entire production chain," Eliober Castañeda, president of the Mining Roundtable of Remedios and Segovia, said.

The protesters are predominately Indigenous and Black campesinos.

More than 340,000 Colombians depend directly on small and medium-scale mining for their livelihoods.

The organization is demanding that the Senate withdraw Bill 190, submitted by Senator Juan Diego Gomez, which they say would affect the development of traditional miners of the region, who hold a large reserve of gold.

The social organization Cahucopana presented a report denouncing the repressions during the protests to give the international community information about the current situation in Antioquia.

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