PBI to hold ‘Police violence has no borders’ webinar, Friday October 30, 10 am ET

Published by Brent Patterson on

Peace Brigades International is planning a webinar on Friday October 30 at 10 am ET that will focus on the issue of police violence featuring defenders from Kenya, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Colombia and Canada sharing their experiences and analysis.

To register for the webinar, please click here.

The webinar will raise issues of the disproportionate levels of police violence against Black, Indigenous and poor peoples, the role that the police play in facilitating the construction of extractive projects that lack Indigenous free, prior and informed consent, and the violence that comes with the militarization of their operations and the lack of credible oversight and accountability, among other concerns.

In brief, some of the information that will likely emerge includes:

Kenya: The Kenyan newspaper The Star has reported: “Missing Voices reports that 712 people have been killed by the police or reported missing since 2007 with only 26 having been charged with a crime for these cases which include enforced disappearances. These cases are more rampant in poorer neighbourhoods.”

Guatemala: The Institute for Policy Studies and Earthworks have noted: “Under the leadership of a retired Lieutenant Colonel that served during the genocidal dictatorship of Efraín Ríos Montt, the police drew up counter-insurgency-style security plans aimed at breaking up the opposition movement, known as the Peaceful Resistance La Puya. …On May 23, 2014, with an excess of tear gas and force, the police broke the blockade and ushered in the [mining] company’s heavy equipment to start operations.”

Nicaragua: In 2019, Human Rights Watch reported: “A crackdown by national police and armed pro-government groups in 2018 left 300 dead, over 2,000 injured, and hundreds arbitrarily arrested and prosecuted. …National Police subjected protesters to abuses that at times amounted to torture, including beatings, waterboarding, electric shocks, and rape. Many [said] that they were forced to record self-incriminating videos.”

Colombia: The public radio program The World recently reported: “Colombian police officers killed 639 people from 2017 to 2019, according to the study to be published next month by Temblores, a human rights NGO. Last week, 14 people were killed and hundreds were injured in the capital, Bogotá, and the neighboring municipality of Soacha, as protesters responded to a viral video showing two uniformed officers kneeling on an unarmed person and repeatedly shocking him as he begged them to stop. The man, Javier Ordoñez, a father of two, died while in police custody.”

Canada: In 2019, The Guardian reported: “Canadian police were prepared to shoot Indigenous land defenders blockading construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia, according to documents seen by the Guardian. …RCMP commanders also instructed officers to ‘use as much violence toward the gate as you want’ ahead of the operation to remove a roadblock which had been erected by Wet’suwet’en people.”

To register for the webinar, please click here.

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