Correspondent in Bogotá
Throughout the afternoon, the peaceful protest marches advanced through Colombia without major events, despite some acts of vandalism in Bucaramanga and the pressure of the Police reaction squads on the protesters located in certain parts of Bogotá.
But at the beginning of the night, the day that had passed in a calm way and in celebration of the 211 years of independence, distorting the projections of chaos and violence that the authorities had predicted during the weekend, seemed to come to an end. In Medellín, the paisas gathered in the emblematic Parques del Río complex were harassed by police squads, tear gas and a fire in a viaduct in the area. And late at night tempers flared and clashes between some groups of protesters and the police They began to take shape in Cali, the third largest city in the country and the one that has suffered the most from the rigors of the violence that has surrounded the citizen protest in these almost three months of marches.
At night, the tension also began to increase in the cardinal points of the protest in Bogotá, such as the Americas Portal, the axis of action of the so-called first line, which yesterday announced its intention to become a political party. Now formally the First Line stated in a statement that “It arises as a group of resistance and containment in the face of aggression and violent repression of the protest, by the National Government”. To get to Congress, however, they must speed up their pace, complete the formal procedures before the electoral authority, collect at least 50,000 signatures, and present their political platform.
The other confrontation
Precisely in the morning, Congress was the protagonist of political confrontations between the government led by President Iván Duque and the heads of the opposition, including Gustavo Petro.
The beginning of the last legislative year began early in the morning, with the presentation made by President Duque of his new tax reform, which he has called the ‘social investment law’ and which he considers as’ the greatest leap in human development in Mexico. The last decades”.
The opposition thinks otherwise. Although he acknowledges that this shortened version compared to the one presented last April, which unleashed the marches and overthrew the finance minister At the moment, it does not solve the social and economic problems of the country, it alleviates the impact a little. The Unemployment Committee asked Congress to speed up the legislative process of the proposals that it will take this week, on which it has not reached any agreement with the government, except to suspend the dialogues.
But the Colombian president did not know of these claims, strongly criticized after leaving Congress before the opposition took the floor, leaving his Interior Minister in charge, which for many is a breach of the opposition’s statute and additional evidence of how the government has turned its back on its critics, repeating the same rudeness of last year.
Yesterday many Colombians they woke up with the flag upside down: red at the top, occupying the double strip where yellow has historically shone, a symbol of the country’s wealth; in the middle an intense blue, which represents the two seas that bathe the country and the rivers that flow through Colombia, and below, where before there was the red symbol of the blood shed by the patriots, the reduced yellow, overshadowed.
The issue gave rise to a wide debate on the networks and in the traditional media, and even for congressmen opposed to the government of Iván Duque to demonstrate during the inauguration of the legislature.
In the networks, where the confrontations began days before, for some sectors aligned with the government and its party these marches would be infiltrated by the guerrillas of the National Liberation Army, while for the detractors and civil society organizations the protests show the harsh reality that has deepened in the last year of the pandemic, as well as the human rights crisis and the death of leaders in the country. Late at night, as the tension and fighting mounted, no one dared to say how the already heavily battered national flag would rise.