PBI-Colombia accompanies Nomadesc during reading of People’s Court ruling on repression in Siloe during the National Strike

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo: This photo by Nomadesc shows the Tribunal Popular en Siloe and a poster of Michael Andrés Aranda Perez, a young man killed on May 28, 2021, in Cali while participating in a demonstration during the national strike.

On February 20, PBI-Colombia tweeted:

“Today we accompany @Nomadesc [the Association for Research and Social Action] during the reading of the sentence and ruling of the People’s Court #Siloé #TPP 2 years after the repression of #NationalStrike2021 the victims continue to fight for justice, against impunity and in memory of young people murdered and detained.”

RFI has also explained:

In Colombia, a ‘people’s court’ has been set up in Siloe, a poor neighborhood of the city of Cali, by social organizations, lawyers, and neighborhood residents, to bring justice – symbolically – to victims of police repression during historic 2021 anti-government protests. It is due to deliver his verdict on Monday [February 20].

Cali had been the epicenter of social anger in 2021, to the point that then-President Ivan Duque ordered the army to deploy in the large southern metropolis – more than 2 million inhabitants – and in the Cauca Valley.

Nearly two years after the mass protests and crackdown, official judicial investigations are progressing slowly if not non-existent.

That is why the grassroots organizations of the neighborhood decided to create a people’s court, installed on May 3, 2022.

José Benito Garzon, a university professor and founding member of the Siloe People’s Court, hopes that the victims’ families will one day be able to obtain justice. “During the great social movement of 2021, Cali was one of the main cities of the protest. It counted 25 points of resistance, including two in the Siloé district. Here, between April 28 and June 12, we recorded 159 attacks: two people are still missing and 16 have been murdered…

This media release has previously explained: “An event reconstruction by SITU Research and Amnesty International details how Colombian security forces assaulted peaceful protesters in the Siloé neighbourhood of the city of Cali on 3 May.”

It adds: “[The Operation Siloé] joint incursion by members of the National Police, the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) and the Special Operations Group of the Colombian National Police (GOES) targeted people taking part in a vigil at the La Glorieta roundabout in the Siloé neighbourhood.”

Amnesty International’s Digital Verification Corps also confirmed the presence of two helicopters in the area during Operation Siloé.

Video: “Witness testimony and verified video evidence also confirms that around 9 pm two helicopters, allegedly belonging to the National Police, flew over the area and fired at demonstrators seeking refuge in houses in the neighbourhood.”

Given this testimony, we remain concerned that Canada has sold Bell CH-135 and Bell 212 helicopters to the Colombian military and police.

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project has accompanied NOMADESC since 2011 and its president Berenice Celeita since 1999.

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