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For Colombia's President, 37 people dead, 359 missing and a continuing popular revolt are not good enough to start a national dialogue.
This Saturday, Colombia's national strike entered its 11th day with fast determination in spite of widespread violation of human rights as exposed by international bodies and the country's Ombudsman.
Following the model of his friend and ally, Chile's Sebastian Piñera, in a similar situation, president Duque is counting on grouping together the political establishment rather than talk to social liders and unionists.
This Saturday in Bogotá demonstrations were taking place at the Journalists Park, and the Bolivar Square in downtown. It is a call for the end of police repression and violence against citizens.
Participants were dressed in black as an expression of mourning for the deaths of 37 protesters at the hands of police officers, according to the most recent report of the Ombudsman's Office.
The report also reads that 548 people have been reported missing since the beginning of the strike on April 28. Of them, so far 189 have been located, and 359 remain missing. Disturbing videos published in social networks depict motorized policemen disposing of bodies in trenches in rural areas.
My father preached the power of nonviolent action to promote change. It’s devastating to see the violent actions taken by the police during yesterday's protests in #Colombia.
I pray for the injured, the lives lost, and that the demonstration planned for tomorrow is peaceful. https://t.co/AlrlgzbQIM
On the night of May 7th in Cali, Valle del Cauca province, leaving three people were reported wounded by gunfire. Magaly Pino, a Human Rights observer told teleSUR in a live interview that she and a group of colleagues had been shot at by police while performing their duties and were being sieged Friday evening.
Colombian forces deploy a Blackhawk helicopter over Buga, Valle de Cauca.
The US gave that helicopter to Colombia ostensibly to "combat drug trafficking." Meanwhile, drug cartels control the country and the helicopter is used to repress popular protests.pic.twitter.com/mA7GsFBFgA
Meanwhile, Duque has started a dialogue with opposition political groups to find a way out of the crisis without yielding to popular demands, along the lines of the "Agreement for Peace" reached in Chile in November 2019 by most political parties.
In the first meeting on Friday, the President met with the Coalition of Hope, whose representatives demanded from the Government a "genuine, concrete, and effective dialogue with the strike committee" to fulfill their demands and bring calm back to Colombia's streets.
Solidarity demonstrations with the Colombian people were being held Saturday in several countries.