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  • March against police brutality in Bogota, Colombia, Sep. 27, 2019. Main sign reads, 'Solidarity is not crushed with a stick'.

    March against police brutality in Bogota, Colombia, Sep. 27, 2019. Main sign reads, 'Solidarity is not crushed with a stick'. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 September 2019

Students demonstrated against the anti-riot police that have been indiscriminately cracking down on university protests on-campus. They were met with more police repression.

Thousands of Colombian students from public and private universities marched in Bogota on Friday to protest against police violence. Ironically, they were harshly repressed the security forces during the demonstrations.

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"In response to repression experienced over the last week, students decided to mobilize in solidarity with the District University and defend higher education in Colombia," the Indigenous and Social Alternative Movement (MAIS) senator, Feliciano Valencia, said in a statement.

"We are going to change this country with you, young people!" he added.

On Sept. 25, the Colombian anti-riot police, the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD), entered Bogota's District University, cracking down on students who were protesting against corruption within their educational institution. A large number of human rights defenders, students and citizens were injured and captured during what began as a peaceful process.

Similarly, back on Sept. 4, the ESMAD entered the University of Cundinamarca and began beating student protesters who were demonstrating the school's administration within the campus confines, leaving at least 12 students injured and another 20 detained.

Yesterday's march was organized to express solidarity with people attacked by the ESMAD at both universities within Colombia's capital.

"She is a student brutally attacked by ESMAD. While for many [repression] is fine, I insist: this is abuse of power, it is a crime, it is aberrant and you ESMAD must be prosecuted for this. I support the students."

The students' peaceful demonstration ran along 7th Avenue and was expected to reach Bolivar Square, the heart of Colombia's political headquarters.

Before it could do it, however, ESMAD tried to disperse the protesters by throwing tear gas at them.

On Thursday, this security force also indiscriminately threw tear gas at students in a high school, an act that has already prompted an internal investigation.

"We reject the ESMAD abusive performance. Universities are spaces of knowledge, progress and training. No to violence against education," the Colombian Federation of Education Workers expressed.​​​

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