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  • A Colombian woman holds a sign reading,

    A Colombian woman holds a sign reading, "On strike we're delinquents, at elections we're citizens," during mass protests against police brutality and massacres of social leaders. Bogota, Colombia. September 21, 2020. | Photo: EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

Published 21 September 2020
Opinion

Colombian social movements urge the executive branch to comply with the 2016 peace agreements.  

Colombia's major cities Monday have been witness to huge mobilizations against police brutality, the economic package (paquetazo) decreed by president Ivan Duque, and the massacres and assassinations of indigenous leaders and demobilized ex-combatants who signed the 2016 peace acords.

Social organizations, trade unions and mass movements who called for the national strike are mobilizing together with thousands of others in Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla and Cali, among other cities, against the sysematic violence of the National Police against the Colombian people.

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On World Peace Day, declared as such by the United Nations in 1981, the National Strike Committee clarified that it will convoke car caravans throughout Colombia's major cities instead of taking to the streets, for numerous security reasons.

The South American nation undergoes another national day of social protest, demoninated 21S, in rejection of the national government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the recent massacre of social leaders and other grave concerns. 

Diogenes Orjuela, president of the Central Workers Union (CUT) and spokesperson for the strike committee, said that Monday will see car caravans throughout the entire national territory. "We hope to do so in a peaceful and democratic way. We're going to give an exmaple of civility," he said.

Demonstrations are expected to take place in the country's major urban centers, especially where there were recent protests against the murder of Javier Ordoñez in Bogota at the hands of the National Police.

As such, unions, students, Afro-descendants, small farmers, activists, political leaders and women's movements are demanding of President Ivan Duque's government the full compliance and implementation of the 2016 Peace Agreements signed in 2016 by Colombian state and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP).

Other demands of the Colombian government are to repeal Decree 1174, through which the so-called Social Protection Floor was created, making labor relations even more precarious, as well as to cease the assassination of social leaders and ex-FARC combatants and end police brutality.

Colombia Humana Senator Gustavo Petro invited Colombians on his Twitter page to "make Monday's 21S protests a non-violent protest. Non-violence to reclaim Colombia's history. It's time to transform our country's history. The more people who show up to the protest, the more easily we can guarantee non-violence."

"Since Ivan Duque assumed the presidency, and uribism returned to power, the country has been devastated by the return to war in the territories, in which 177 individuals, social leaders, and human rights defenders have been killed, as well as 148 ex-combatants involved in the reincoporation process, and in 2020 alone we've seen 56 massacres that have cast a shadow over our peoples," the political declaration calling for the protests expressed. 

The police's mobile anti-riot squad disperses protesters in Plaza Bolivar, Bogota, Colombia 
 

As such, the Colombian National Strike Committee estbalished an agreement with authorities that police would not carry arms during the car caravan and while accompanying the march throughout the different cities in the South American nation.

That said, the National Police has stated it will not allow agglomerations of more than 50 people, due to health and safety measures required because of COVID-19. 

Recent marches in Bogota against police brutality have been met with extreme forces by state security agents, including over a dozen deaths and hundreds more injured. 

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