In Bogota, riots against police violence

Barricade set on fire during a demonstration against police violence on September 10 in Cucuta.

A brutal police check filmed with a cell phone, a man who succumbs to his arrest, a city which rebels. The scenario repeats itself. For two nights in a row, that of Wednesday 9 and Thursday 10 September, it was Bogota and its suburbs which ignited. The violent riots resulted in the death of seven people in the capital. According to the mayor of the city, Claudia Lopez (environmentalist), more than 300 people were injured, 66 of them by bullets. Three other people died in Soacha, a suburb of the capital, and a woman was hit by a stolen bus by “A vandal”, according to Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

“It’s an exceptionally serious situation: 66 gunshot wounds, it’s worse than the results of a fight”, underlined the elected, who opted to openly criticize “Excessive use of firearms by police”. And to wonder: “What kind of training do they get to have this absolutely disproportionate response to a protest? ” One hundred and fourteen members of the public force were injured.

Incidents also erupted in the cities of Medellin, Cali and Barranquilla. The formula of President Ivan Duque (right) evoking “A police procedural error” was not made to calm the spirits. New demonstrations were scheduled for Thursday evening. The defense minister announced that the two police officers guilty of the blunder were immediately suspended from their duties and would be made available to military courts. But on Thursday night he blamed protesters for the violence, condemning “Two days of systematic and coordinated vandalism”. On the walls of Bogota, the acronym “ACAB” appeared: “All cops are bastards” (“All cops are bastards”).

“Please, I can’t take it anymore”

Fifty-three police stations were ransacked in Bogota on Wednesday evening. Protesters also attacked official vehicles and city buses. For left-wing Senator Angela Maria Robledo, “These scenes tell of the rage, the pain, the indignation of a people and show the terrible face of a State which has never other solution to propose than repression”. On social networks, the outrage over the images of the arrested man’s death gave way to the debate on the legitimacy of the violence that followed.

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