After two months of brutal repression by the police forces and numerous serious human rights violations amid the national strike and demonstrations in Colombia, this Tuesday President Iván Duque claimed Colombia would open an investigation of the members of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) who abused one young protester and two journalists during another day of demonstrations in Suba, Bogotá.
At least 75 people have died during mobilizations that have been demonized by the Duque government, including at least 44 homicides in which police officers participated, in addition to more than 100 missing persons. Two months after the beginning of the Paro Nacional and after a phone call from US President Joe Biden, the Colombian president Duque suddenly expressed his concern about the actions of the police:
“To our policemen, all the support, but also all the demands,” said Duque’s Twitter account. “Faced with the actions of members of the Colombian Police who used excessive force in the town of Suba, the institution immediately began a formal investigation,”
A nuestros policías todo el apoyo, pero también toda la exigencia. Ante las actuaciones de miembros de la @PoliciaColombia que se excedieron en el uso de la fuerza en la localidad de Suba, la institución inició de inmediato la investigación formal.
— Iván Duque 🇨🇴 (@IvanDuque) June 30, 2021
For his part, the commander of Bogotá Metropolitan Police, Eliécer Camacho, asserted that ESMAD attackers were “separated from their positions and functions.”
Ante inaceptable actuación de miembros del Escuadrón Móvil Antidisturbios este martes en #Suba, el Comandante de la Policía Metropolitana de Bogotá anuncia las primeras decisiones sobre este caso, que ha sido priorizado por la Institución. No toleraremos violaciones a los DD.HH. pic.twitter.com/CrZjT1dweh
— Policía Metropolitana de Bogotá (@PoliciaBogota) June 29, 2021
Violence without limits
Four members of ESMAD kicked and hit a young cyclist who was on the ground, not resisting, in Suba. The incident was recorded on video. “He’s a boy!” shouted one of the women who witnessed the brutal scene.
While the agents were detaining the civilian, an ESMAD officer also harassed journalists who identified themselves as RCN Radio workers. “He’s attacking me!” said one of them.
#AlertaFLIP | La FLIP rechaza la agresión física que sufrieron hoy las periodistas de @rcnradio Alexandra Molina y @katysanchezCE, por parte de agentes del ESMAD, mientras cubrían las manifestaciones en la localidad de Suba en Bogotá.
🧵 Abrimos hilo. 👇🏽 pic.twitter.com/jFyxNFNBu7
— FLIP (@FLIP_org) June 29, 2021
The Colombian government, with this announcement, has now accepted in some manner the existence of its repressive police model—though this may do little or nothing to ensure respect for human rights.
Featured image: Image of the police repression in Bogotá, Colombia. Courtesy of RedRadioVE.
(RedRadioVE) by Daniela Jimenez, with Orinoco Tribune content
Translation: Orinoco Tribune