Protests in Colombia turn deadly: police massacres ‘at least 8’ in Cali

Police massacred at least eight people in Colombia’s third largest city, Cali, in response to protests against President Ivan Duque, human rights defenders said Friday.

May 2, 2021: There has been violence during May Day marches in Colombia, where workers’ rights protests combined with anger over proposed tax changes. Protests gathered at the National Park in Bogota to continue protesting against a controversial tax reform that they say would raise taxes on the middle class at a time of great economic pain. Rising poverty and unemployment following COVID-19 restrictions have people increasingly venting their anger in the streets, openly defying official pleas to stay home.

In a press conference, Cali human rights organizations said they were able to confirm the assassination of eight people and were in the process of verifying another six police killings.

The people were allegedly murdered in the neighborhoods El Calipso and El Diamante, according to the human rights organizations.

Locals additionally uploaded evidence that police was indiscriminately opening fire on civilians in three other neighborhoods.

The reports of police terror all came from the impoverished southeast of the city.

Providing security, according to Molano

The alleged police murders took place after Defense Minister Diego Molano announced he would send 2,300 policemen and soldiers to “provide security” in the city in southwest Colombia.

According to the human rights organizations, Molano’s response spurred a police brutality not seen in Cali since late 2019 when the government tried to quell anti-government protests using terrorism.

Apart from allegedly carrying out assassinations, police detained 84 people, said the human rights defenders.

The organizations expressed their concern that some of the detainees are missing as well as three other people who were not reported as detained.

Since Wednesday, twenty-eight people were injured, “many of them seriously and with gun shot wounds.”

One woman was allegedly sexually abused by a policeman of controversial riot police unit ESMAD, which has a history of human rights abuses.

Molano, who traveled to Cali on Friday, expressed his “gratitude and admiration” for the alleged bloodbath.

A national strike that escalated

The brutal repression of a largely peaceful national strike on Wednesday triggered permanent protests throughout Colombia.

A Cali local who asked to remain anonymous told Colombia Reports that local police permitted unidentified groups of rioters to attack protesters, banks and supermarkets on Wednesday.

The terror campaign was “premeditated,” according to Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina, and allowed Molano to send in the military.

Duque’s political patron, far-right former President Alvaro Uribe, used the violence to stigmatize the protests and justify the use of military force.

Uribe’s Tweet was later removed by Twitter, which claimed the politician “glorified violence” after mass indignation on the social media platform.

Published by amongthefray

News with a historical perspective. Fighting against misinformation, hate, and revisionist history.

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