2019 Colombian protests
|2019 Colombian protests|
|Part of 2019 Latin American protests and the Latin American Spring|
Protest in Cali
|Date||21 November 2019– ongoing (21 days)|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
|Death(s)||4 (as of 27 November 2019)|
|Injuries||533(as of 27 November 2019)|
|Arrested||500(as of 27 November 2019)|
The 2019 Colombian protests are a collection of protests that have occurred since 21 November 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians demonstrated in support of the Colombian peace process and against the government of Iván Duque Márquez.
While mostly peaceful in nature, multiple violent incidents have taken place throughout the protests, leading to overnight curfews in Cali and Bogotá. It is "one of the largest mass demonstrations Colombia has witnessed in recent years".
According to 2018 Corruption Perception Index data released by Transparency International to measure public sector corruption in 180 countries and territories, giving each a score from zero (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean), Colombia scores 36 points. This is below the global average of 43 points, and makes Colombia the 99th most corrupt country in the world.
Protesters have expressed anger at corruption perception in the country.
Rumors of possible austerity measures, denied by President Duque, angered left-wing groups, students and indigenous groups. The idea of such measures originated from the introduction of a bill by Álvaro Uribe, mentor of President Duque. Duque was also accused of not putting effort into the Colombian peace process with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) as violence occurring in rural areas of Colombia resulted with the deaths of indigenous leaders.
As a means of demonstrating, labor unions organized a twelve-hour nationwide strike that was to be held on 21 November 2019, with other groups such as Indigenous leaders, students, and anti-corruption activists.
Time reports that the protesters in Colombia come from all backgrounds, and that they are protesting because of a general displeasure with government actions across a range of issues, triggered to action by rumors of pension cuts. These protests follow smaller student protests earlier in the year that failed to attract many supporters or attention, and have been inspired by the other protests across Latin America.
On 21 November, many Colombians, estimated between 200,000 and over 1 million, protested throughout the country, with the government responding by deploying 170,000 troops. The Colombian government also closed all of its borders.
Following similar demonstrations throughout Latin America, protesters displayed flags of Chile and Ecuador and banners reading "South America woke up", and chanted anti-violence slogans. Demonstrations turned violent, with clashes between police and protesters occurring later in the day and some groups attempting to storm Capitolio Nacional, the building that houses the Congress of Colombia. Fights broke out near the country's international airport, and tear gas was also fired at people at the National University of Bogotá.
During the protests on 21 November, 68 out of 138 TransMilenio stations were vandalized, 48 percent of the system infrastructure. The mayor of Cali imposed a curfew from 19:00 local time until 6:00 the next morning (UTC−5) as a response to violence. In the evening, a spontaneous cacerolazo happened in the capital and several other cities, after which senator Gustavo Petro encouraged more protests. On the first day of protests, three people were killed, with 98 arrested and 273 combined protesters and security forces injured.
The following day, thousands of protesters gathered at Plaza Bolívar in the capital Bogotá, where they were later dispersed with tear gas. In response to the protests, President Duque said that he would open a "national conversation" after the weekend; the Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that 11 investigations into "alleged misconduct by members of the security forces" had begun.
Transportation in the capital was largely closed, and road blockades had been built in some areas. Many protests were peaceful, while some instances of looting and the theft of a public bus occurred in the capital city, where a curfew was enforced in the evening. Some protesters ignored the curfew, with others protesting outside of Duque's house through the night. Fox News reported that this was the city's first curfew since the drug gang wars of 1977. In Santander de Quilichao in the southwest of the country, three police officers were killed, and ten more injured, by a car bomb.
After the initial anti-austerity and anti-corruption protests had begun, other groups joined in demonstrations, including environmental action groups, animal rights groups, and women's rights groups. The lootings happening in poorer areas have contributed to an increase in anti-Venezuelan sentiment, with some suspecting Venezuelan migrants to part of the perpetrators.
Going into the morning of 23 November, Duque said that he would not recall troops that had been patrolling in the streets, and that the measure was to maintain order. After the previous night's curfew, protesters returned to the streets, with hundreds in the capital's National Park being dispersed with tear gas, and to Plaza Bolívar and the Capitol building. When looting happened through protests and rioting, the government referred to the actions as an "orchestrated terror campaign".
- "With nationwide strike, Colombia joins South America's season of protest". The Washington Post. 21 November 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- Daniels, Joe Parkin (21 November 2019). "Clashes in Colombia as hundreds of thousands protest against government". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- Frances Jenner (27 November 2019). "Excessive police violence in protests cause deaths and thousands of injuries". Retrieved 29 November 2019.
- "Colombia protests prompt teargas, curfew and border closures". CNN. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- "Hundreds of Thousands Protested Colombia's Conservative Government. Here's What to Know". Time. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- ""Corruption Perceptions Index 2018 – Transparency International"". Transparency International. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- "Colombia troops on streets as unrest continues". BBC. 23 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- "Colombia anti-government protesters clash with police | DW | 22.11.2019". Deutsche Welle. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 22 November 2019.
- "68 estaciones de TransMilenio fueron vandalizadas durante las marchas del 21N" (in Spanish). Conexión Capital. 22 November 2019.
- "Three Colombian police killed in bomb blast as Bogotá protests flare again". The Guardian. 23 November 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
- "Three dead in Colombia amid mass protests". BBC. 22 November 2019. Retrieved 23 November 2019.
- "Colombia imposes Bogotá curfew amid fresh unrest". BBC. 23 November 2019. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- Phillips, Morgan (23 November 2019). "Colombia imposes rare curfew in Bogota after violent anti-government protests". Fox News. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- Otis, John. "Protests in Colombia Stretch Into Third Day". WSJ. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- "Fear grips Colombia protesters as anti-gov't rallies turn violent". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 24 November 2019.
- El Tiempo, Casa Editorial (26 November 2019). "En medio de homenajes, familia de Dilan anuncia despedida en privado". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved 27 November 2019.