BOGOTA, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- At least 20 people were injured and some stores damaged here on Thursday in clashes between riot police and demonstrators gathering at central Bolivar Square to show support for striking farmers.
Local media reported that as many as 30,000 people, including more than 20,000 university students, began the protest three days ago at the square to support a nationwide farmers strike. The clashes broke out as several groups of young demonstrators attacked the police.
At least 20 people, including protesters as well as policemen, were injured as the police tried to disperse the crowd with tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons, local media said.
In a related development, supporters of the farmers also clashed with riot police trying to remove roadblocks and waterworks pipes placed by demonstrators on the South Highway to Bogota.
Hours before the conflict, President Juan Manuel Santos acknowledged in a televised speech that the farmers were facing hard times because of the neglect and absence of agricultural policies for a long time.
Santos, who opened talks with the protesting farmers Tuesday, promised a series of remedies including price controls in fertilizer and insecticides as well as fight against contraband of foodstuffs.
Farmers of Colombia have been on strike since Aug. 19 to protest some Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) promoted by the government, saying their sector was being hurt by rising competition from imports.