On Thursday, Indigenous groups in Colombia threatened to “take” the presidential palace if President Iván Duque did not meet with them for negotiations amid the weeks-long protests in the South American country.
“This is the last warning and the last demand we make,” Herney Flor of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca told the president, according to Colombia Reports.
Native Colombians want to speak with Duque about the government’s breach of agreements as well as the rising number of attacks on their land and communities. In October, the Indigenous governor of Cauca, a town in southwest Colombia, Cristina Bautista was killed along with four volunteer community guards in a massacre by a rebel group.
Since mass protests against the president’s social, security and economic policies started on November 21, the conservative leader has met with labor unions. However, the president has not sat down with Indigenous leaders, despite their early involvement in the demonstrations and calls for negotiation.
Flor said 30,000 individuals are ready to travel to Bogotá, the nation’s capital, to “take” the presidential palace if Duque does not respond before Saturday.
“We ask you to fulfill the commitments, the agreements that have been signed many years go, because if not we will leave in a caravan next week,” Flor said.
Hundreds of Indigenous guards have already journeyed to Bogotá, Medellín and Cali in attempts to maintain order during the anti-government protests, which have brought hundreds of thousands of people to the streets across the nation.