After seven weeks of demonstrations, the main organizer of the marches in Colombia called for the protests to be suspended. He clarified that these do not end and dated July 20 to make a new march towards Congress. However, several of the protesters have said that the Committee does not represent them.
The National Unemployment Committee, which groups together different unions of workers and students, and which has become the main convenor of the peaceful mobilization against the Colombian government, announced the temporary suspension of the demonstrations in the country.
“We have decided to temporarily interrupt the recurring mobilizations that we had been doing on Wednesdays,” Francisco Maltés, president of the Central Unitary of Workers (CUT), said at a press conference, who said that the mobilization will continue “because the causes have generated it and remain in force “.
However, not all the sectors that have taken to the streets feel represented by the Unemployment Committee and say that they will continue to march, as several members of the so-called ‘First Line’ of Bogotá assured to local media such as RCN Radio. The ‘Front Line’ is what groups that peacefully defend protesters call themselves.
The mobilizations, which have lasted for almost 50 days since last April 28, began as a call to the Government with different demands, including a basic income for the poorest population and free higher education for women. social classes with fewer resources.
Maltese also called a new day of marches for next July 20, the day on which the new period of legislative sessions begins. Precisely, the president of the CUT explained that that day they will leave for Congress.
The Unemployment Committee also indicated that it intends to convert citizen demands – which the government complains about – into bills that will be presented in Congress. “We hope, of course, that Congress does not fail Colombians, just as the president has failed,” Maltés said.
July 20 also marks one year since the delivery of the so-called ‘National Emergency Document’, a document that brings together the main demands for change and that, the Committee denounces, the Government has so far ignored. However, the recent marches did bring down the tax reform (the spark that ignited the demonstrations) and the health reform.
Protests in Colombia, marked by police violence, leave a balance of 70 dead
The momentary closure of the cycle of protests in the country takes place in one of the worst epidemiological moments due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a sustained peak of more than 500 deaths a day for several consecutive days, a moment that also coincides with the reopening commercial of the country.
Due to the epidemiological situation, the Government and the unemployment committee accuse each other. The first blames the Committee for having increased infections with constant mass demonstrations, while the Committee assures that the current situation is due to its delay in starting the vaccination plan against the virus.
But infections are not the only figures after this national strike. This Thursday completes seven weeks of intense violence and constant accusations to the Colombian Government for the violent repression in the demonstrations. Human rights organizations such as Indepaz document 70 deaths in the protests, the vast majority at the hands of soldiers.
In addition to the deaths, NGOs have documented hundreds of disappearances, dozens of rapes and assaults on women and even the use of torture in public places ranging from a bus station in the capital, Bogotá, to supermarkets, which would have been used by police officers and the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) to torture protesters.
Although in recent weeks with fewer and fewer people on the streets, since April 28 the country has experienced a historic show of discontent against the Government, which a growing sector of society blames for the structural poverty of ( 42.5% of the population in 2020) and the lack of educational and job opportunities, a situation that has worsened with the pandemic.
With EFE and local media