“They killed my son, my only son”: Young people pay with their lives to demonstrate in the streets of Colombia

“They killed my son, my only son”: Young people pay with their lives to demonstrate in the streets of Colombia

“They killed my son, my only son, let them kill me too”, the mother of the young Santiago Murillo, who died in the city, denounces heartbrokenly. colombian of Ibagué during the agitated protests against the government’s tax reform in which at least 16 civilians have died.

The heartbreaking cries of the woman for the death of her 19-year-old son, who was shot in the chest last Saturday, have been echoed throughout Colombia, which has experienced moments of bitter tension since Wednesday, when the mobilizations began.

Santiago is the most visible face of the human rights violations for which the Colombian Police is accused, responsible, according to civil organizations, for attacking citizens who were protesting peacefully.

A protester during the protests in Cali today. (EFE / Ernesto Guzmán Jr).

“He was coming home, he had only two blocks to go”, The young man’s mother complains when she warns that, although she has received threats for defending the image of Santiago, she will not allow the Police to “wipe their hands with the death” of the young man.

The public forces dragged multiple complaints about the brutality and arbitrariness with which some agents have acted, even with point-blank shots recorded in videos circulating on social networks.

“If you are going to march in the name of my son, I appreciate it, but do it in peace, do not take this as an excuse to do vandalism”, Santiago’s mother claims when insisting, in a video published by the local media Ecos del Combeima, that her son was not part of the protests.

The protests have been going on for three days just as the country faces the third peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda)

The protests have been going on for three days just as the country faces the third peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda)

BLOOD IN THE STREETS

President Ivan Duque announced on Sunday, after four days that also left some 800 injured, the withdrawal of the controversial tax reform and asked Congress to urgently process a new project.

However, for trade unionists, congressmen and social organizations, the country is paying a very high cost for the persistence of the Government in its tax reform, which did not even have the support of the parties related to the administration.

The workers’ centrals received the withdrawal of the reform as a first triumph of the protests, but they demand that the authorities clarify the death of other young people, such as Nicolás Guerrero, a 22-year-old artist murdered with a shot in the head at dawn this morning. Monday in Cali (southwest).

His death was seen live by thousands of people who followed a live broadcast on social networks. In fact, still confused, several people come to help him when he falls to the ground with a hemorrhage in his head.

Witnesses to the attack point to the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) of the Police for the death of Guerrero, which raised tension in Cali, capital of the Valle del Cauca department.

The death mourned the family of the mayor of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, who revealed today that the victim was the son of a cousin of his and assured that neither he nor the security councils in which he has participated has been ordered to use firearms to suppress the protest.

A protester watches over a barricade during a protest in Cali. (EFE / Ernesto Guzmán Jr).

A protester watches over a barricade during a protest in Cali. (EFE / Ernesto Guzmán Jr).

AT LEAST 16 CIVILIANS DEAD

The bloodbath in the streets was officially confirmed on Monday by the Ombudsman’s Office, which said it had documented the deaths of at least 16 civilians during the demonstrations.

However, the death toll can reach 27, according to human rights organizations.

“At the moment we have 1,089 cases of police violence, among which we have been able to identify at least 124 injured by violence, 726 arbitrary arrests, six acts of sexual violence, 27 homicides, 12 young people have lost their eyes,” said the second vice president today. of the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode), Martha Alfonso.

Members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) confront protesters who arrive in the neighborhood where Colombian President Iván Duque resides. (EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).

Members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) confront protesters who arrive in the neighborhood where Colombian President Iván Duque resides. (EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).

Members of ESMAD confront protesters in the Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá. (EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).

Members of ESMAD confront protesters in the Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá. (EFE / Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda).

CRITICS OF THE POLICE

For its part, the NGO Temblores warned that 21 people have been killed, 92 have been victims of physical violence by the security forces and another 672 have been arbitrarily detained.

The organization is also investigating the death of eight protesters allegedly attacked by the police and has documented four complaints of sexual violence for which members of the security forces are singled out.

“At this moment all civil rights have been violated due to the militarization order that was given in the cities. There is a lot of documentation and videos of how the Police, the Army in some places, and the Esmad have used their weapons ”, Alfonso added.

Regarding these complaints, the Director of the Police, Major General Jorge Luis Vargas, assured today in a press conference that there are 26 preliminary investigations with which it is intended to clarify the circumstances of the homicides and physical attacks, as well as to determine whether in those cases the uniformed men had some responsibility.

The Police has in its ranks 540 wounded in addition to the death in Soacha, a town near Bogotá, of the captain of that institution Jesús Alberto Solano, who was stabbed to death.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.