PBI-Colombia accompanies the CSPP and COSPACC at National Strike marches
On April 28, PBI-Colombia tweeted: “Today, PBI accompanies members of the human rights organizations CSPP in Bogota and COSPACC in Yopal within the framework of guarantees for peaceful social protest.”
In this tweet from late in the day, the Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (CSPP) highlights that there were 14 raids and 7 attacks on human rights defenders in Bogotá; and that 20 people were injured, 24 people were detained, and that there were 49 complaints about police violence.
The Campaña Defender la libertad has tweeted that there was a systematic attack by public forces that targeted the eyes of those protesting, including Leidy Cadena.
Aljazeera further notes: “As rain poured down on protesters and helicopters flew overhead in Bogota’s main public square, riot police fired tear gas at approximately 3pm [local time] to disperse crowds.”
And there is now official confirmation that two people died at the demonstrations.
On November 23, 2019, following the killing of 18-year-old Dilan Cruz by the ESMAD riot police at a national strike at that time, PBI-Colombia commented: “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.”
The context of the strike was opposition to “tax reform” (reforma tributaria) as well as other unpopular measures including fracking and glyphosate spraying.
VOA reports: “The strike was a reaction to proposed tax hikes by the administration of embattled Colombian President Iván Duque. The widely unpopular tax reform would add a 19% tax on things like Internet service, gasoline, electricity, water, among other things, and impose income taxes on people who earn more than $700 a month.”
Reuters adds that government measures could also include increasing the retirement age and making it easier to fire workers.
PBI-Colombia has provided accompaniment to the CSPP since 1998 and the Social Corporation for Community Advice and Training (COSPACC) since 2009.