Duke said he was motivated to send troops to lift dozens of protesting barriers, which has brought the country to a standstill since early May – but critics and some analysts have called for the deployment to add fuel to the fire. Is considered a risky bet.
Soldiers facing protesters
“Having more security forces on the streets is not a step in the direction of peace,” said Sebastian Lanz of the Colombian NGO Temblores, documenting police violence. He says his organization has identified more than 3400 cases of police misconduct in dealing with protesters.
Lanz states that peaceful resolution of conflicts should be given priority as a means of mitigating the situation while respecting the right of citizens to protest. “We ask ourselves, is this deployment of troops really meant to pacify the city, or is it to intimidate and limit the rights of protesters?” he said.
Colombia’s government disputes the Temblores’ data, but it is difficult to deny the hefty actions employed by some Colombian security forces. On Monday, Inspector General of Police Jorge Luis Ramirez said his office is investigating 170 cases of misconduct by police. Eleven of these cases are directly related to the killing of protesters at the hands of policemen.
Juan Carlos Ruiz, professor of political science at the Universidad del Rosario of Bogotá, warned that adding active troops to the mix could increase the risk of fatal encounters in otherwise peaceful protests.
“It is not the best idea to handle a military protest rally,” he told CNN. “Even with anti-riot police, all the issues and incidents they have been involved in protests so far, at least they are a body of professionals trained in dealing with protesters. A soldier not trained in conflict resolution Mune: They are trained to kill. “
At the same time, Ruiz says the government’s decision to add military muscle seemed “inevitable”, given the damage already done to the Colombian economy by the Kovid-19 epidemic.
Negotiations, still ongoing, have so far failed to produce tangible results and tensions continue to escalate.
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Amnesty International USA Advocacy Director Philip Nassif called for immediate suspension, saying “Secretary (of the state) Blinken has the power to curb the fear and terror of Colombian protesters, and they should do so immediately.” Assistance to the Colombian Police concerning weapons.
CNN has requested comment from the US State Department.
Long lasting results
Issuing a decree on Friday that authorized military assistance to the police facing the protesters, Duke insisted it was a temporary decision. He said that the troops would be withdrawn as soon as the situation calmed down.
But Lanz of the NGO Temblores warned that the consequences of this decision could last too long. “What we are seeing here is that security forces are reclaiming territorial control of public space,” he said.
“Due to the Kovid-19 and lockdown, we lost the right to a shared public space where everyone can be free. On the one hand you have protesters who are reclaiming that place for themselves, but on the other side the government forces. Sending. Fight for control. This is a regional battle, and it won’t end soon. “