In the city of Medellín, Colombians protest against police violence in Bogotá on September 14th.
The escalation of violence in Bogotá shocked Colombia – and led to an open rift between President Iván Duque and the mayor of the capital. Does Claudia López instrumentalize the victims for political purposes?
A.In some corners of Bogotá there are pictures of the dead. In front of it there are flowers in memory of the young Colombians who were killed here a few days ago. What happened in the streets of Bogotá last week can only be described as a battle: an angry mob let its destructive rage run free and set two hundred buses and fifty police stations on fire. The police in turn forgot all the rules and rights. Unidentifiable police officers beat demonstrators with clubs, smashed windows and used their firearms. Fourteen people were killed and hundreds injured, more than 70 of them by gunfire. The country is appalled by the extent of the violence – in a place where it was almost forgotten in this brutal form.
The anger of the young Colombians was directed specifically against the police, more precisely against the “immediate task force” (CAI). These are small police stations in the quarters of the capital. They were introduced in 1987 when Bogotá was one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Their purpose was to be able to react quickly to certain events and to strengthen surveillance in some areas of the city and – according to the local authorities – to strengthen contact with the population. However, in the perception of the population, the CAIs have since developed into places of abuse, corruption and drug trafficking.