Colombia cracks down on protesting farmers

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Water cannons were unleashed in the capital city of Bogota, on protesting farmers who feel that Columbia’s government is responsible for their poverty. Although the demonstrations by the small-scale farmers were mostly peaceful in support of the 10-day protest, some masked youths hurled stones and bricks, forcing riot police to unleash tear gas on them. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos says the troops were needed to “assure normality” and that it was “unacceptable that the actions of a few impact the lives of the majority.” He promised to enforce order in any towns that get too chaotic, explaining, “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.” The government announced Wednesday they would be willing to get better prices on agricultural products and more loans for the farmers, but the small-scale farmers rejected the offer. They complain that trade agreements with the European Union and US are creating too much competition, and that they can’t match the prices.

Featured image courtesy of Luis Eduardo Bernal and Shaun McRae on Wikipedia.