The mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, described this Friday as “authentic massacre” the death of ten people in the Colombian capital “in alleged acts of police abuse” that occurred in the violent protests of the last 48 hours in the city.
“What has happened in the last hours is brutal, it is serious, it is an authentic massacre of young people in our city. Just as the massacres in Nariño, Cauca or Catatumbo hurt us, they hurt us in our city,” said López after meeting with President Iván Duque and with the Attorney General, Fernando Carrillo.
López’s reference is to the more than fifty massacres that have been perpetrated this year in 17 of the 32 departments of Colombia, according to data from the observatory of the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (indepaz).
Such a massacre of our youth, such unleashed violence, needs an act of genuine forgiveness and reconciliation, which rebuilds trust between citizens and institutions. On Sunday we will do that act. We all want a Bogotá without fear, reconciled and at peace. pic.twitter.com/qdrLvNIp8Y
– Claudia López (@ClaudiaLopez) September 12, 2020
Balance of the protests
The demonstrations unleashed by the death of Javier Ordóñez, a 46-year-old man who was brutally subjected by two policemen in the Santa Cecilia neighborhood, in the northwest of the city, have spread throughout the country and have so far left 13 dead, 10 of them in Bogotá and three in the neighboring town of Soacha.
Mayor López noted that since Wednesday 72 citizens have been injured by firearms in Bogotá and that “there was indiscriminate use of weapons by some members of the National Police” to control the demonstrations that turned violent.
“There were acts of vandalism as well. We recognize the just indignation and protest of the citizens, but of course there are also interests and criminal acts. 15 Transmilenio buses are not burned by exalted youths, nor are 45 CAI (Commands of Immediate Attention of the Police) out of indignation, but because of criminal hands, “he added.
He also pointed out that “119 complaints of police abuse in 48 hours” have been documented, while the figure so far this year was 141.
Meeting with duke
Police brutality That caused the protests and the one that occurred during the demonstrations has put on the table an initiative for that institution to be reformed and go from depending on the Ministry of Defense to the Ministry of the Interior.
In that sense, López brought to the meeting with Duque a proposal to “recognize once and for all that the Police should be a civilian body, that they have neither training, nor operation, nor military jurisdiction, but rather that it be an organism civil that responds before the citizenship and before the ordinary justice “.
“The president says that he discards the plan, that reform. I am very sorry because I frankly believe that it is needed. But I thank the prosecutor, who has told me that he is going to examine the probability of calling an inter-institutional reform (… ) to propose this reform to Congress, “he added.
López also said that both Duque and Carrillo gave them about an hour and a half of video recordings “where members of the security forces are clearly shown shooting indiscriminately in different neighborhoods of Bogotá.”
The mayor also invited them to an act of reconciliation and forgiveness this Sunday to “rebuild trust among all, respecting the rights and duties of citizens and institutions, so that we can resume the purpose of living in a city in peace.”