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News > Colombia

"Night of Horror" in Cali - Duque Ignites Fire With More Troops

  • Protesters clash with riot police in Medellin, Colombia, May 29, 2021.

    Protesters clash with riot police in Medellin, Colombia, May 29, 2021. | Photo: Twitter/ @SteveColecchi

Published 29 May 2021

After 10 people were killed in a night of repression in Cali, Colombia's President Ivan Duque tripled the number of soldiers.

Duque traveled to the city of Cali to make the announcement, after an official from the Attorney General's Office shot at protesters in the La Luna sector. The Colombian president assured that the measure meant "almost tripling our capacity in less than 24 hours in the whole department".


More Repression Against Protesters Reported in Colombia

The Colombian president's decision comes after, in the afternoon, several organizations and users of social networks evidenced how an official of the Attorney General's Office fired indiscriminately against a concentration in the La Luna sector of Cali, leaving several wounded.

After this, people in the area found the attacker and lynched him. Attorney General Francisco Barbosa identified the perpetrator, who was in civilian clothes, as Freddy Bermúdez Ortiz, a member of the Technical Investigation Corps (CTI).

More military presence in the streets provoked fiercer clashes with protesters, resulting in a rise in the daily death toll.

In addition, Duque announced a curfew in the Department from Saturday at 5:00 local time in order to criminalize the citizen protests, which have been signaling the political and social scenario of the country since April 28.

According to the National Strike Committee (CNP), measures like this show Duque's lack of commitment to solve the crisis.

The strike is alive and strong. Demonstrations are taking place in most cities, in spite of repression by Duque's security forces.

Despite establishing a dialogue with the CNP, Duque continuously hampers the signing of an agreement to end the crisis. Negotiations are currently stalled because the government has conditioned the agreement to the suspension of road and highway blockades.

The CNP refused to accept such an imposition and proposed instead to open humanitarian corridors, which have not been accepted by the government. Given the differences, both parties agreed to meet on Sunday to keep discussing the issue.

"What we see is a dilatory action to comply and sign what has been agreed. This dilatory attitude shows that the government does not understand the complexity of the situation and makes Duque responsible for the strike," said the President of the Unitary Workers Trade Union (CUT) Francisco Maltes.

Meanwhile, Colombia's Vice President and Foreign Affairs Minister Marta Lucia Ramirez met U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington where she announced Colombia is ready to facilitate the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (IACHR) visit.

The IACHR has received thousands of petitions to verify, on the ground, the ongoing human rights violations suffered by demonstrators in Colombia. Despite Duque agreed on the visit, NGO and social and political activists are still pushing for it to happen as soon as possible since police crimes keep growing in number and brutality.  

According to the NGO Temblores, a petitioner,  383 human rights violations have been identified and documented, including the murder of 43 citizens at the hands of police forces and 22 victims of sexual violence.

Likewise, 1,445 arbitrary detentions have been registered, and so far, over 320 people remain missing.

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