Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Turning the Historical Tables

Five hundred years ago, foreigners occupied the lands of Colombia's indigenous people, taking the land away to use for agriculture and mining.

Today, dozens of indigenous Colombians and campesinos occupied the Ministry of Agriculture on Jimenez Ave. in central Bogotá today, making demands which however weren't very clear to the public.

In the morning, an indigenous man whom I asked about their demands refused to tell me - which struck me as not the best way to obtain those demands.

According to El Tiempo, the protesters are demanding that the government fulfill certain agreements, basically involving money. That seemed to be the view also of the police standing by the protest.

"It's all about money," a police officer told me.

A crazy man gestures at the protesters.
But a woman protester told me that their demands also included land redistribution and an end to killings of indigenous people. Then, one of her companions called her away, apparently to stop her talking to an outsider. Then, another protester asked me to stop taking pictures "for the safety of the people," even tho I'd seen people taking their pictures all day long, and their photos are on El Tiempo's and other websites.

 This evening, the occupiers were still there - perhaps justifiably, since only a few centuries ago this was all indigenous territory.

The sign says 'We are not terrorists.'

Riot police wait across the street.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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