Another young Colombian man died this Friday in a day of serious disturbances in the city of Popayán (southwest), where protesters set fire to a facility of the Prosecutor’s Office and clashed with the public force, in the field of protests against the Government, which have already left more than 40 deaths in the country and several complaints of police abuse.
The representative in Colombia of the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Juliette de Rivero, rejected the death of the young man Sebastián Quintero Múnera, of which the circumstances have not transcended, and called for calm and respect for life.
”We regret and reject the violent death of the young Sebastián Quintero Múnera, 22, a few hours ago in Popayán. We call for calm and respect for the life and Human Rights of all people”, De Rivero pointed out on social networks.
The protests in the country, which began on April 28 against the now defunct tax reform, already leave at least 42 fatalities (41 civilians and one police officer), according to what was reported to the Ombudsman’s Office.
Social discontent seeks that the Government offer free education for university students, more job opportunities, access to health and that police violence cease.
#NewsW | Crisis in Popayán: clashes between protesters and the Public Force do not stop.
Protests over the death of the 17-year-old girl continue.
There are new complaints of excesses. pic.twitter.com/oIwmhxt3RA
— W Radio Colombia (@WRadioColombia) May 14, 2021
TWO MINISTERS TO POPAYÁN
On the day of riots in Popayan, a group of protesters set fire to the headquarters of the Immediate Reaction Unit (URI), of the Office of the Prosecutor, capital of the department of Cauca, after complaints that a young woman was abused there by members of the Mobile Anti-riot Squad (Esmad) of the Policeman.
URI Popayán burns, where the young woman was allegedly raped … pic.twitter.com/CHoHCfOAC1
– Leo (@kammus52) May 15, 2021
Cauca is a neighbor of the agro-industrial department of Valle del Cauca, whose capital is Cali, the epicenter of the demonstrations and the city that has been most impacted by the excesses carried out by vandals who have blocked roads, attacked and looted shops and set fire to buses, among others.
On Popayan, the mob also burned a car and painted the walls and broke glass in local government buildings, which, like most buildings, are white.
Faced with the complex situation of public order, Colombian President Iván Duque today sent the Defense Ministers, Diego Molano, and the Interior Minister, Daniel Palacios, to that city to address the situation.
1. This is how Esmad murdered a 22-year-old young man this afternoon in Popayán This way of firing the stun guns directly at the protesters’ bodies is irregular; the projectiles thus launched cause injuries and deaths. They are not accidents, they are murders! #Popayan #SOSColombiaDDHH pic.twitter.com/uxlhTQyxd8
– Luis Guillermo Pérez (@LuisGPerezCasas) May 15, 2021
”Faced with unfortunate events related to the 17-year-old deceased youth, it is imperative to carry out a thorough investigation”, added the head of state.
The minor appeared lifeless in her home after reporting on social networks that she had been abused.
The Prosecutor’s Office began the investigation of this case and sent a special team from Bogotá to Popayán.
Meanwhile, the Mayor of Popayán decreed a dry law and a curfew to deal with the situation.
ANOTHER STATUE DOWN
Also in Popayán, protesters demolished the statue of the independence hero Francisco de Paula Santander and the sculpture “Edifiers of Peace”, which paid tribute to the Police. They did it using ropes and then they painted them.
On May 7, the statue of the founder of Bogotá, the Spanish conqueror Gonzalo Jiménez de Quesada, was demolished from the pedestal on which it was installed in the center of the Colombian capital by indigenous Misak.
This same ethnic group threw down in Cali, capital of the Valle del Cauca department, that of the founder of that city, the conqueror Sebastián de Belalcázar, in events recorded on April 28, on the first day of the protests.
The Misak, who mainly inhabit the department of Cauca, also demolished on September 17 of last year in Popayán, the statue of Sebastián de Belalcázar, founder of that city in the southwest of the country.