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Troops Patrol Colombian Capital After Protests

  • VOA News

Pedestrians walk along a street guarded by soldiers in the Soacha district, southern Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 30, 2013.

Pedestrians walk along a street guarded by soldiers in the Soacha district, southern Bogota, Colombia, Aug. 30, 2013.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has ordered troops onto the streets of Bogota after protests in support of striking farm workers turned violent and left two dead.

President Santos said Friday that there is no protest that justifies the loss of life.

Violence broke out Thursday when thousands of people took to the streets in support of striking farmers, leading police to fire tear gas. It is not clear how the two deaths occurred.

The clashes came after almost two weeks of roadblocks and protests by striking farmers that spread from the countryside to Colombia's cities.

Demonstrators protest in front of riot policemen at the entrance of La Calera near Bogota, Aug. 28, 2013.

Demonstrators protest in front of riot policemen at the entrance of La Calera near Bogota, Aug. 28, 2013.

In another development Friday, protest leaders said they will lift blockades on key roadways after reaching a "partial agreement" with the government. A spokesman representing the farmers says they will continue to picket along the side of roads, but will now allow vehicles to pass. He did not provide any further details about the deal with the government.

"After exhausting days of talks with the national government delegation up until now, partial agreements have been reached that give us the power to invite protesters to permit the transit of vehicles."

The farmers are demanding an extension of government subsidies and also want the government to renegotiate free trade agreements with the Untied States and the European Union.
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