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  • Cúcuta Police in migration control operation

    Cúcuta Police in migration control operation | Photo: twitter/@WRadioColombia

Published 13 April 2020
Opinion

The rise in violence is a consequence militarization of public spaces due to restrictive measures to prevent the virus.

Colombian citizens denounced the police brutality and misuse of power during quarantine enforcement due COVID-19 outbreak inside the South American nation, a new report revealed.

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Social media users shared videos showing police imposing arbitrary and random fines during the quarantine period in Colombia this past week. Colombian officers are also intimidating citizens who are seen outside of their homes. 

Esteban Velazquez, a psychology student, said he received a ticket after going out on the public road to repair his computer.

"I had to take my computer to be fixed because it is my only working tool to do my studies and receive virtual classes. Besides, I live in a university residence and I needed to go to the food market," he said.

Velazquez also pointed out that this police action against him was irrational in all senses: "You must bear in mind that there are circumstances for which one must leave at this time of the exception. I don't even have the rent money right now; I don't know how I'll pay the fine."

Even when these events reveal civil unrest  in Colombia, other facts show how severe this issue could be. Sexual assaults and gender discrimination in police activities are also among the testimonies.

An anonymous woman in the Bosa region explained she was forced to completely strip on a police bus. The assault victim also said  one officer suggested having sexual intercourse. 

In the city of Cali, another woman suffered similar actions. A motorized patrol harassed her while she was walking her pet for the 20 minutes. The two men reprimanded the woman for being alone on the street. When she tried to get away from them, the men followed her with their bike.

The rise in violence is a consequence militarization of public spaces due to restrictive measures to prevent the virus. 

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