The Office of the Ombudsman of Colombia indicated that, in the midst of over 120 ongoing investigations against police officers for abuse of authority since the start of the national strike, 16 more people were injured and one was killed this Monday, May 17.
The information on the new murder was provided by John Jairo Santamaría, mayor of Yumbo, Valle del Cauca (just north of Cali), based on a report provided by an authority from the Yumbo municipality hospital.
According to videos posted on various social media networks, during a rally rejecting the government of Iván Duque the police fired and threw tear gas, severely affecting children and the elderly.
A la media noche y hasta cerca las 3:00 AM, la situación de orden público en el municipio de #Yumbo estuvo bastante alterada.
El Alcalde Jhon Jairo Santamaría, confirmó que resultó una persona muerta y 15 más heridas como consecuencia de éstos hechos pic.twitter.com/YexI2Jrhl5
— SUPERNOTICIAS (@radiosupercali) May 17, 2021
Santamaría explained that the newest killing occurred in the middle of a peaceful protest, which would later devolve into acts of violence.
“We invite the national government to also take responsibility,” said the mayor. “This is something that started at the national level [in Bogotá] and we are being affected. It is we, as mayors, who face pressure from the national government for action. I want to tell you that I, John Jairo Santamaría, would never give an order that would affect my community [like this]. I am a mayor, but I am also a citizen of Yumbo.”
El @AlcaldiaYumbo Jhon Jairo Santamaría, entrega balance de la noche de terror que se vivió en el sector de Ecopetrol y barrio La Estancia @todosconsanta @Imderty_Yumbo @ETC_YUMBO @HospitaldeYumbo @PoliciaCali @DevalPolicia @SecSeguridadVal pic.twitter.com/6BIcMfVoJI
— Debates Televisión (@Debatestv) May 17, 2021
During the protests, part of the ongoing national strike in Colombia, at least 42 people have died, and over 1,600 injuries have been recorded in confrontations between protesters and soldiers or police.
The Colombian Prosecutor’s Office confirmed that about half of the cases occurred in Cali, the capital of Valle del Cauca. For its part, the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia reported that 18 related investigations are currently in process, while the criminal justice system of the military and police is pursuing 32 investigations.
Police repression in Yumbo
Residents of the La Estancia neighborhood confirmed that ESMAD [riot police] and regular police intervened at several points of assembly, where people were gathered and mounting non-violent demonstrations against the government policies of the current president Iván Duque .
Volvieron a matar un jóven en Yumbo. El gobierno dialoga de día y mata de noche. https://t.co/zEPjkdSN5H
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) May 17, 2021
Witnesses also reported that officials fired tear gas in the presence of children and the elderly.
Thus, the police repression applied during the protests that have shaken Colombia claimed a new victim in the municipality of Yumbo, Valle del Cauca.
Senator Gustavo Petro posted about the tragedy on Twitter, lamenting that “they killed a youth again in Yumbo. The government engages in dialogue by day and killing by night.”
On April 28, a national strike began in Colombia, which today has seen 19 days of social mobilizations in cities across the entirety of the South American country.
Featured image: Protester in Colombia holding a banner that reads: “In Colombia they are killing us, Uribe gave the order.” Photo courtesy of RedRadioVe.
(RedRadioVE) by Patricia Ferrer
Translation: Orinoco Tribune