10,000 indigenous Colombians are marching against President Alvaro Uribe’s policies. The protest comes one week after violence erupted during demonstrations to press for land reform and dialogue with the government.
Colombia’s indigenous protest against Uribe
ZAA NKWETA, TRNN: Ten thousand of Colombia’s indigenous peoples are taking part in a massive demonstration, which comes after days of violent clashes between indigenous groups and Colombian police. The 62-mile march began Tuesday in Piendamó, in the Cauca province, and will end Friday in the city of Cali. The aim is to pressure the government into returning land to indigenous farmers and to protest against the alleged genocide of indigenous peoples. Recent clashes stem from the killing of indigenous leaders. Indigenous groups claim 1,200 people have been killed by different armed groups since 2002. Colombia President Álvaro Uribe has denied that police and army forces have been using lethal force against demonstrators, but medics said they have treated scores of Indians injured by bullets and shrapnel. Uribe says out of Colombia’s 150 million hectares of land, 30 million already belong to indigenous communities. According to Colombia’s national indigenous organization, 27 percent of Colombia’s indigenous population have no land. Demonstrators want the government to set aside more land for Colombia’s 1.3 million Indians and to provide money for better education and health care. They also want the government to prevent corporations and multinational companies from encroaching on their land.
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