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Colombia’s central trade union federation (CUT) staged a one day national strike Oct. 23 to support a general strike by 9,000 sugar cane cutters in the Cauca Valley region and protests by Indigenous peoples.

Colombian security forces killed three Indigenous people and hundreds have been injured.

Activists in Canada protested in support outside of the Colombian Consulate in Toronto.

The cane cutters struck in September, demanding a living wage, social benefits and the right to unionize.

Indigenous people are demanding that the government respect their territorial and human rights and are protesting the proposed free trade agreements with Canada, United States and the European Union.

Three leaders of the Cane Cutters strike were arrested along with two advisors to the progressive senator and former union leader Alexander Lopez. All were later released on bail.

Paul Moist and other Canadian union leaders have written to the Colombian President demanding an end to violence against union members and indigenous people and have called on the president to address their legitimate concerns.