Riot police crack down on Colombian protesters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 31 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 31 August, 2013, 3:23am

A riot policeman raises his baton over a protester falling to the ground in Bogota as thousands of farmers and state workers marched through the Colombian capital.

The demonstrators converged on the city after 11 days of increasingly violent protests against agricultural and trade policies that they say have left them impoverished.

Students wearing balaclavas pelted shop windows with rocks near the capital's main square and clashed with riot police who fired tear gas to disperse them.

The authorities in Bogota imposed a curfew in three of the more populated areas of the city after violence continued into the night.

President Juan Manuel Santos, who has been unable to end the national strike that has united potato growers, milk producers and teachers, acknowledged agriculture is in crisis, but called for peaceful dissent while discussions about possible solutions are going on.

"We are in a storm, but we will persevere," he said.