PBI-Colombia says peaceful protest is a human right as national strike protests continue

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On November 23, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project posted, “Social and peaceful protest is a human right, above all, disproportionate repressions cannot be justified against the civilian population, we ask for guarantees and respect for life.”

That same day, The Bogota Post reported, “An 18-year-old student [Dylan Cruz] is in critical condition tonight after being shot by ESMAD [the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron] riot police on the third day of the national protests.”

“The most recent medical report at the time of writing (9.30 pm) stated that Dylan had suffered a penetrating head trauma and his neurological status is still uncertain due to secondary effects following resuscitation.”

“According to media reports, Dylan had recently graduated from Colegio Ricaurte and was marching for the right to access an ICETEX loan so that he could go on to study administration at university. That dream may now never be realised.”

“Various videos on social media show police shooting the young man from the other side of the road, in what appears to be an indiscriminate act. His friend told Semana that they were trying to get away from the tear gas when it happened – about 4pm today.”

Canal Citytv also tweeted this short video clip of ESMAD firing teargas on activists singing the Colombian national anthem.

Al Jazeera adds, “Javier Diaz was among a group of peaceful protesters gathered in Bogota’s National Park on Saturday [November 23], wearing a rainbow indigenous handkerchief tied around his neck.  He, like many other protesters, was calling for an end to the killing of indigenous and social leaders, corruption, possible economic reforms and the surge of violence in Colombia’s rural zones.”

That article continues, “Shortly after telling Al Jazeera he hoped to continue protesting peacefully in the ‘cacerolazos’, he and hundreds of other peaceful protesters were charged and tear-gassed by police in riot gear.”

This El Tiempo video gives an example of a cacerolazo in the La Macarena neighbourhood in Bogota.

The Delegation of the European Union to Colombia (which includes the embassies of Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Italy) has issued this statement:

“The vast majority of citizens of Colombia who took to the streets have been peacefully exercising their legitimate right to protest, giving samples of citizenship and respect in the expression of their demands and aspirations.”

“We deplore the loss of human lives and firmly reject acts of violence that tarnish the legitimate right to peaceful protest and generate fear, chaos and disorder.”

It does not appear that the Government of Canada has commented yet on the national strike protests beyond a Canadian embassy tweet, “Protests may continue in the next few days and happen without notice. There have been clashes between protesters and public forces, which have caused victims. Avoid manifestations.”

To follow the latest developments on Twitter, go to #ElParoSigue #ParoNacional #DylanCruz #ParoNacionalColombia

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