RIOTING erupted in Colombia on Wednesday after two police officers were accused of killing a man, with protesters attacking police stations and clashing with security forces.
More than 15 police stations were stoned or otherwise attacked in Bogota, with three of them set on fire, news programme Noticentro 1 CM& reported. Other police stations were attacked in Medellin and Cali.
Police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators who burned tyres and garbage containers, threw petrol bombs and attacked police vehicles, shops and banks.
Several police officers were reported to have been injured.
The unrest followed the death of aeronautical engineer and lawyer Javier Ordonez, 46, who was stopped by police in western Bogota the night before.
The two officers were reportedly conducting controls related to the coronavirus pandemic, and accused Ordonez and his friends of drinking in the street.
A video shot by Ordonez’s friends showed the police officers holding him to the ground and repeatedly shocking him with a stun pistol, despite repeated pleas for them to stop.
Ordonez was then taken to a police station, where officers allegedly beat him.
His injuries led to him being taken to a nearby clinic, where he died.
President Ivan Duque and Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo pledged “zero tolerance” for police abuse.
The police force and prosecutors announced investigations, while the two suspects were relieved of their duties.
Several people are reported to have been killed in incidents with police in the Bogota area last and this year.
The best-known case was that of Dilan Cruz, a young man hit by a police projectile during anti-government protests in November.
A military court was tasked with investigation, instead of a civilian court which – critics said – might have taken the accusations more seriously.
“The case of Dilan went to the military penal justice system and there it will die,” said Sandra Borda, a political scientist at Bogota’s Los Andes University.
“The same will happen with the case today,” she tweeted on Wednesday.
– Sept. 10, 2020 @08:15 GMT |