Colombia: new protests against police violence

Colombia: new protests against police violence

Thousands of Colombians protested again Monday against police violence and against government policies, eleven days after protests sparked by the death of a man at the hands of police.

Trade unionists and students took the lead in rallies and marches that led to clashes with the security forces in central Bogota, the main theater of these protest movements.

Protesters threw stones at police officers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, an AFP journalist said.

Riot units intervened to contain “violent” actions in Bogota as well as Medellin and Pasto, respectively in north-west and south-west Colombia, said police chief General. Oscar Atehortua.

At least nine people have been arrested for participating in the ransacking of bank branches and public facilities, according to General Atehortua.

Police said 5,600 people took part in a total of 142 rallies, but by the end of the day turnout appeared significantly higher.

After an eleven-day break, students wearing masks took to the streets again to express their anger at the police.

In mid-September, Bogota had witnessed several days of protests after the death on September 9 of a 43-year-old engineer, Javier Ordonez, who died after suffering violence at the hands of two police officers.

A video that has gone viral shows how Ordonez, while on the ground, received multiple shocks from an electric pistol and beatings which, according to the prosecution, are the causes of his death.

Justice on Monday ordered the preventive detention of the two police officers, who are charged with torture and aggravated homicide.

During protests following the death of Javier Ordonez, members of the security forces opened fire, killing 12 people. Investigations are underway against several dozen of them.

There were also thousands of injured, including many members of the security forces, and dozens of police stations were destroyed.

On Monday, protesters marched towards central Bogota with slogans against police violence, against a recent wave of massacres linked to the conflict between drug traffickers and authorities and against the economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic.

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