March 28, 2023

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has introduced on Twitter that his ministers efficiently negotiated the discharge of 88 hostage taken throughout a lethal protest towards the oil firm Emerald Power.

“Because of the efforts of the ministers of Protection and the Inside, all police members and oil officers retained in San Vicente del Caguán, Caquetá, have been launched,” Petro wrote on Friday.

In a video launched to the media, Petro additionally appealed to the protesters, a lot of whom hail from Indigenous and rural communities, vowing to “dialogue” with them “about their wants, their complaints, their claims”.

“This can be a authorities for dialogue, a authorities that belongs to them,” Petro stated within the video.

A complete of 88 individuals had been held captive as a part of the protests, which demanded that Emerald Power present infrastructure investments and compensation for environmental harm to the encircling neighborhood.

9 of the preliminary hostages had been oil firm staff. The opposite 79 had been cops.

As well as, two individuals had been killed within the demonstrations: a civilian struck by gunfire and a police officer recognized as 39-year-old Ricardo Arley Monroy.

The protests, which started on Thursday, shut down entry to an oil discipline, and video appeared to indicate demonstrators setting fireplace to firm property.

On Friday, authorities officers together with Minister of Protection Iván Velásquez and Inside Minister Alfonso Prada traveled to San Vicente del Caguán, a municipality within the Colombian Amazon, to satisfy with protesters.

However within the lead-up to negotiations, Prada introduced {that a} full authorities dialogue might solely happen with the “fast launch” of the captured cops and the six employees nonetheless in custody by Friday morning.

Protesters have referred to as on Emerald Power to restore roads and enhance services like colleges within the largely rural space surrounding the oil fields.

A spokesperson for the communities concerned within the protest informed Al Jazeera earlier on Friday that an estimated 4,000 individuals, from farming and Indigenous communities, had taken half within the protests.

The spokesperson additionally denied reviews that armed teams had infiltrated the demonstrations, calling the rumors an try to delegitimise the protesters’ calls for.

Prada, the inside minister, appeared to handle these issues in a press release to native media on Friday.

“We’re very cautious to not stigmatize or permit the stigmatization of the peasant social motion in Colombia,” he informed journalists. “However we’re not silly sufficient to suppose that there will be no components of disruption that intend to make use of social mobilization for their very own explicit unlawful pursuits.”

Petro is taken into account the primary left-wing president in Colombia’s historical past, following his inaugurated final Augustand his authorities has approached the nation’s almost six-decade-long inside battle with a coverage of dialogue and negotiations reaching “complete peace”,

Not too long ago, his administration has resumed talks with the Nationwide Liberation Military (ELN)the most important remaining guerrilla group within the nation.

However the protests in San Vicente del Caguán renewed criticism from conservatives that Petro has not taken an aggressive sufficient strategy to finish lawlessness.

On Friday, far-right Senator María Fernanda Cabal denounced Petro’s authorities on Twitter for displaying “indifference” to the households of cops held hostage by not taking stronger motion.

In his video assertion on Friday, Petro supplied condolences to these harmed within the demonstrations. He additionally condemned the “violent actions” taken in the course of the protests, calling them counterproductive.

“What they do is destroy the likelihood, not solely of getting a well-liked, progressive authorities, however of getting paths of peace,” Petro stated.

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