In a new attempt to criminalize social protest, the Colombian government issued arrest warrants against the frontline youths accusing them of having received financing from the guerrilla.
Colombia's Defense Minister Diego Molano on Sunday announced the arrest of 134 citizens who had been protesting against President Ivan Duque on the "front line."
"We maintain actions for a safe democracy," Molano said as he reported that the National Police executed those arrests through 34 operations in 18 cities.
Bogota, Cali and Soacha are the cities where the largest number of apprehensions were made. According to data provided by the Public Prosecutor's Office, the arrested citizens are accused of vandalism, road blockades, attacks against authority, and damage to property.
These arrests take place a few days after the Colombian Police arrested 12 people, who were accused of possessing explosive materials with which they allegedly intended to attack security forces.
This video shows how the Esmad has been trained to use expired tear gas into the houses in #Popayan #Cauca. There are many children and elder people affected. Denounce!@JMVivancoHRW @RepMcGovern @ColombiaCalling @mci_sc_usa— SOS COLOMBIA (@SOSCOLO93514719) July 26, 2021
Gracias @colombia_uk por traducir El video! pic.twitter.com/nRBdYXBrmx
Since the beginning of the National Strike on April 28, citizens protesting on the "front line" have attempted to protect Colombians with homemade shields from the projectiles launched indiscriminately by the mobile anti-riot squad (ESMAD).
In a new attempt to criminalize social protest, the Duque administration issued arrest warrants against the frontline youths accusing them of having received financing from the National Liberation Army (ELN) and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
In reaction to police brutality against protesters, national and international human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the Colombian government to disband the ESMAD.