Hooded protesters and members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) from the Police clashed in the Plaza de Bolívar in the center of Bogotá, where thousands of people were beginning to arrive, protesting against the Colombian government for various reasons.
The protest, mostly peaceful, was marred by the action of vandals who tore up cobblestones from the Carrera Séptima to throw them at the police officers located outside the Palace of Justice.
Clashes with the Police
Although some protesters came between the uniformed men and the vandals, who were asked to stop attack the cops, the tension grew and Esmad intervened when a few meters away another group destroyed an agency of the Banco Caja Social.
At that moment, the police squad threw tear gas and the massive protest dispersed through the streets of the historic center of Bogotá.
“Vandals destroy and violently enter a financial institution in the center of Bogotá, which forces the intervention of the Police Esmad to restore order,” said on Twitter the Minister of Defense, Carlos Holmes Trujillo.
The mayor of BogotáClaudia López, stated that at 4:45 p.m. (local time) Esmad intervened “for the first time in the day due to an act of vandalism” in acts that did not leave any injuries. “Tranquility has been restored. The Plaza de Bolívar remains open to citizens who have been marching peacefully in the direction of the plaza,” López said on Twitter.
The mayor, who is against use of police force in the demonstrations, he added that his administration had warned that it guaranteed peaceful protests but “in the face of any act of vandalism or violence, Esmad is authorized to intervene with gases, without lethal weapons.”
Since November of last year a movement called the National Unemployment Committee, groups together unions and society groups that promote protests against the president’s social and economic policy Ivan Duque, which have been joined by groups against police brutality and violence in the country, among other demands.
In that sense, today’s protest was also called by the death of Javier Ordóñez, 46, who died in a Bogotá clinic after being brutally subjected by two police officers during his arrest in the early morning of September 9 in the Colombian capital.
The death of Ordóñez unleashed violent demonstrations in several cities of the country against the police abuse, days in which at least 13 people lost their lives, victims of gunshots.