Colombia accuses FARC of inflaming violent farmer and student protests
Friday, August 30, 2013 - 01:24
Aug. 30 - Colombian Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon accuses Marxist FARC rebels of infiltrating massive protests as violence spreads across the country. Sunita Rappai reports.
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Clashes rage on in Colombia between the military, farmers and state workers protesting against government spending policies.
Demonstrators threw rocks at police who fired teargas to try and control the increasingly angry protests.
Universities have now joined the growing national strike.
In Bogota, authorities accused the Marxist revolutionary group, FARC - of infiltrating the protest.
Defence Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon said the government would address the concerns of those with legitimate complaints - farmers and students.
But he warned that FARC guerrillas, vandals and criminals had joined the protests and were serving their own 'dark interests.'
With dozens of roadblocks snarling traffic and increasing violence, Pinzon vowed to restore law and order.
(SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) DEFENCE MINISTER, JUAN CARLOS PINZON, SAYING:
"We'll increase the military's presence in certain cities to provide the confidence and the peace of mind that all Colombians deserve. We are not going to allow a bunch of citizens to cause destabilisation."
FARC, which began as an agricultural struggle against rural inequality in 1964, has issued a statement of support for the protesters.
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