Protests against the government of Colombia flared up on Saturday due to the case of a 17-year-old girl who committed suicide after being dragged away and allegedly groped by the police during a demonstration in the city of Popayán.

The Ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, denounced this Saturday that in that southwestern city of the country there were “Excesses and very serious abuses by the police, including acts of sexual assault”.

The ombudsman remarked “acts of terrorism against the facilities of Legal Medicine and the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation with destruction of evidence and judicial files, the theft of seized narcotics, blockades and violence of all kinds.”

Camargo also lamented the death of the young Sebastián Quintero during the protests Friday in Popayán. According to human rights organizations and videos circulating on social networks, the university student apparently died from the impact of a tear gas device on his neck.

Colombia has been the scene of 18 days of mobilizations against the government of Iván Duque in which 42 people have died (one in uniform and 41 civilians), according to the Ombudsman’s Office, which watches over human rights.

The Ministry of Defense, which is in charge of the police, counts more than 1,500 injured among protesters and agents.

Oenegés have documented multiple police abuses and the complaints have been echoed by the international community, which, led by the United States, has asked the public forces for restraint.

Protests don’t stop

The demonstrations continued this Saturday in different parts of Bogotá, with artistic expressions in rejection of violence policeman and the policies of the Conservative government.

Thousands of people gathered in the north of the capital with music and theater. A group of young people with their bodies stained red as if they were bloody performed acrobatics on fabrics that hung from a pedestrian bridge decorated with messages such as “we resist with the circus, do not respond to us with bullets.”

In Madrid, thousands of Colombians took to the streets in solidarity with the protests anti-government in your country.

Colombia goes through a severe social crisis due to the deterioration brought about by the pandemic and the repression of the protests against the government, which tries to defuse discontent through negotiations with the nonconformist fronts that demand a more solidary State and a less unequal society.

The government invited the so-called national strike committee – the protesters’ most visible organization – to a meeting on Sunday to advance negotiations.

Colombia on Saturday registered a daily record of deaths from covid-19 (530) in more than a year of pandemic and its hospital system is on the verge of collapse. The crowds could increase the number of infections, according to authorities.

Popayán, new focus

Popayán erupted on Friday amid the excesses, incinerated public buildings and strong clashes with the public force. Bogotá and Cali (southwest) have also been the focus of demonstrations and riots since the beginning of the protests April 28.

On Wednesday night, a young woman was taken to a prosecutor’s office by agents who were clashing with protesters in Popayán. In a video that went viral, the woman is seen screaming as her hands and feet are immobilized and led to the site.

According to the Commission on Guarantees and Human Rights, which accompanies the protests, the less she stated that she had been beaten and groped. On Thursday, the girl committed suicide at her home.

The police, who denied the abuses during the detention, announced the suspension of four uniformed officers involved in the case.

Defense Minister Diego Molano regretted his death and that of Sebastián Quintero but insisted that “nothing justifies taking justice into his own hands.”

For Molano, the excesses against the buildings of the prosecutor’s office and the forensic authority in Popayán were “an attack on the institutions, a premeditated and organized criminal act” by FARC dissidents that departed from the peace agreement signed in 2016 with the ex-guerrilla.

The objective was to eliminate ongoing investigations related to armed groups in the department of Cauca, according to the minister. Five offices were affected and 50 weapons were stolen, he added.

Molano offered a reward equivalent to $ 13,500 to anyone who provides information that allows those responsible to be captured and announced an additional deployment of military and riot police in Popayán without mentioning the number of uniformed men.

The local mayor’s office ordered a night curfew and restricted the consumption and sale of alcoholic beverages.

Categorized in: