“The narco-dictatorship threatens Colombians and prevents them from holding marches and protests... The right to protest is being violated,” Senator Raquel Lizarazo said.
On Wednesday night, the National Police and its Anti-Riot Mobile Squad (ESMAD) brutally repressed Colombians who were protesting against fare increases in Bogota’s TransMilenio transport system.
The social organization 2021 National People's Assembly (ANP 2021) posted videos on social networks showing how the police attack citizens protesting in a poor neighborhood located at the south of the capital city.
"At this moment, in Molinos neighborhood, ESMAD represses the demonstration that the community is holding against the increase in the TransMilenio fare... We denounce the disproportionate use of force against the peaceful demonstration," ANP 2021 said.
The ESMAD agents arrived at the place where the citizens were concentrated with two tanks which threw stun grenades and fired tear gas indiscriminately in a residential area. The community denounced that ESMAD detained a young journalist and kicked him. Officers also apprehended a teenage woman whose whereabouts are unknown at this time.
The tweet reads, "Supported by tanks and helicopters, ESMAD harassed and repressed protesters who rejected the rise in the TransMilenio fare in Molinos, south of Bogota."
“The narco-dictatorship threatens Colombians and prevents them from holding marches and protests. It militarizes the places where the people protest. The right to protest is being violated,” Senator Raquel Lizarazo tweeted, referring to President Ivan Duque's administration.
A few hours before the events in Molinos neighborhood, Defense Minister Diego Molano spoke out in favor of militarizing some areas of Bogota. This proposal, however, was rejected even by Mayor Claudia Lopez.
In December, the company TransMilenio announced that the transportation fare will rise from US$0.37 to US$0.64 as of January 11. This policy outrages the population and affects lower-income workers.
“Paying a ticket of US$0.64 for a terrible service is an abuse against citizens. It is fair to protest,” human rights defender Edith Parada tweeted, explaining that entrepreneurs raise the price of basic goods and services in a country where purchasing power continues to fall.