Saturday, July 24

Colombia prepares a new day of protests on Independence Day

Colombia is preparing for a new day of protests in different cities that will coincide this July 20 with the beginning of the last legislative period of Congress and the celebration of Independence Day, a day for which the authorities activated a plan against violence and violence. vandalism.

The National Unemployment Committee (CNP), the main convenor of the demonstrations that the country experienced since April 28 and that lasted for two months, announced that it will resume the mobilizations this Tuesday “to demand the national government and its majorities in the Congress a response to the serious humanitarian, social, economic and political crisis “.

It is also expected that this Tuesday, a “national outpost” of the so-called “front lines” of the protests, as well as a delegation from indigenous communities, will arrive in Bogotá from different cities in the country.

“We have information on about 35 activities, including sit-ins, rallies, cultural activities and marches that are going to take place throughout the city, which is why we have arranged the largest number of dialogue and coexistence managers”, said this Monday the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, at the end of a security council.

The mayor added that just as she promised at the guarantees table, in which the Ministry of the Interior, human rights organizations, young people, businessmen and the Unemployment Committee participated, her administration will guarantee peaceful protest.

The CNP has also scheduled a large demonstration that will be held from 10 am in the Bogotá National Park, where the Colombian rock band Aterciopelados will also perform in concert. “Any Colombian who peacefully wants to come to express his voice, his legitimate demands, is always welcome (to Bogotá),” added the mayor of the capital.

The committee will also present a statement in Congress on Tuesday with 10 bills that include the petitions that led to the discussion tables with the Government of President Iván Duque, which concluded a month ago without any agreement.

Police preparation

The protests, which were initially called to reject a government tax reform, resulted in one of the worst recent crises in the country and, despite the fact that most of them took place peacefully, cities such as Bogotá and Cali were marked by violence.

For that reason, the authorities ordered 9,572 agents of the public force in Bogotá and nearby municipalities. “We will not allow blockades, violence, or permanent camps. We will not allow acts that affect the tranquility of Colombians,” Defense Minister Diego Molano warned on Monday.

In addition, the Government of Valle del Cauca (southwest), where the greatest number of violent events occurred in recent months, authorized the closure of borders in the department until July 22 “with the purpose of reducing the speed of contagion of COVID -19, guarantee peaceful coexistence and avoid the risk of disturbing public order “.

There is great expectation about the demonstrations on July 20, as the protests, which in the last month have lost intensity until they have diminished and almost disappeared, leave, according to human rights organizations, some 74 fatalities, at least 20 of them from shots fired by the Police, while the Government links 25 deaths to the protests.

The Ministry of Defense has warned that “there is a special interest in illegal armed groups such as (the guerrilla of the) ELN, the Gulf Clan and the FARC dissidents in financing vandalism during the day of celebration of independence.”

However, civil organizations urge the authorities not to militarize the mobilizations and to comply with the recommendations of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which in its report on the protests found that the Colombian State’s response “was characterized by the use of excessive and disproportionate force and that in many cases the action included lethal force “.

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