Under the presidency of Iván Duque (2018-22), Colombia experienced harsh police repression during demonstrations against his policies. At the time, these demonstrations were led by left-wing social movements and activists. This Tuesday, the leftist leader of Colombia Gustavo Petro showed that citizens can now express themselves without any kind of violence as long as rights are respected.
For decades, Colombia saw its streets filled with blood when left-wing opposition organizations took to the streets to protest and police responded with violence. This did not happen during the so-called March of the Majority that took place in Colombia on Tuesday, June 20.
Hundreds of Colombians marched to express their disapproval of the social reforms promoted by President Gustavo Petro in Congress. The reforms, key to Petro’s left-wing campaign, aim to achieve social justice in a country plagued for decades by civil war and the exploitative dictatorship of the oligarchy. This mobilization was called for by opposition political groups in order to show discontent among sectors of the population, motivated, in part, by a massive march in support of Petro’s policies on June 7.
"Hay unas marchas contra el gobierno, nuestro mayor deber es cuidarlas que no pase nada con ningún manifestante (…) aquí se pueden expresar como quieran, siempre que se respeten los derechos” Gustavo Petro @petrogustavo Presidente de Colombia pic.twitter.com/dIWvx05MJf
— AL Press (@ALPressWC) June 20, 2023
While the opposition march was taking place, the Colombian president said that his duty was to ensure that no repression was levied on the demonstrators.
“There are some marches against the government,” said President Petro, adding, “Our greatest duty is to take care of them [so] that nothing happens to any demonstrator. That is the expression of the democratic spirit: that here they can express themselves as they wish, as long as their rights are respected.”
During the Duque administration, in the 2021 National Strike alone, 83 killings were reported, at least 44 of which were committed by the security forces.
These included 32 homicides by firearms, seven by impacts of objects, two by tear gas asphyxiation, one by being run over by an armed vehicle of ESMAD (Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron) riot squad, and one by physical beating.
INFOGRAFÍA DEL PARO. BALANCE EN CIFRAS pic.twitter.com/bvDU5k83CV
— INDEPAZ (@Indepaz) April 23, 2022
While the political sector of the opposition wished to demonstrate, with these mobilizations reveal that discontent towards Gustavo Petro exists, However, polls show that after less than a year in office, the president has a 47% approval rating among the general population, and over 62% among young people, exceptionally high results for any leader in the Americas.
“If this survey is true, I thank the people for knowing how to resist the onslaught of the media that are the capital of the richest men,” wrote the Colombian president on social media.
Estamos a un año del triunfo, si esta encuesta es cierta, agradezco al pueblo por saber resistir el embate de los medios que son capital de los hombres más ricos. Nuestro capital es ser mayoría, ser pueblo solidario, saber resistir y saber triunfar por la justicia social y la Paz pic.twitter.com/EtswSGrYv0
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) June 18, 2023
(RedRadioVE) by Ana Perdigón, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
Ana Perdigón#molongui-disabled-linkSeptember 19, 2023