There've been protests in Bogota in the streets over the last couple of days. We've had them in Medellin also, and it's taking place in other cities too. There was a group of around 100 or 200 on Oriental in San Antonio, which is right by the police headquarters. Yesterday afternoon when I walked past there. Their signs had to do with police brutality and deaths.
It's like 7pm and a group around the same size was walking and running in the streets about a block away. No police presense I could see from up in my apartment, but the smell of whatever they're burning in the streets. The traffic rerouted itself away from there since it couldn't pass. Horns from all corners. Also the intermittent report of some kind of explosions. I'm guessing firecrackers.
I was curious enough to look up the story. It's about what headlines call a lawyer, because reportedly he was studying for a law degree. He was in his 40s, a taxi driver by trade, drinking with a couple other men a few nights ago, and when he or they went out of the house for something, something happened and he was killed by police. No other details, so no way to know what the facts are.
The protests are effective. I'm sure anyone who wasn't already aware of the story, now seeing the crowd making their way through the streets, yelling sometimes, running, lighting things on fire, will be curious enough to take interest and search what is happening. What would be more effective would be to have published some message first, or at least a description of what actually took place with that man who died, so that when people searched they would find something. Besides drawing attention to their issue, the protests put a bit of fear into government, police, and everyone else, that they will act if offended, and that they're dangerous if they go out of control.
The city doesn't seem to be cracking down. Even staying away from it on purpose. Since no one is getting hurt and no destruction to property or looting is happening, they can allow the protesters to cause a bit of disturbance and express themselves, and avoid the basically inevitable injuries and possible deaths which confrontation would cause. Also the increased opposition and antagonism both sides would feel from a confrontation. Apparently in the protests in Bogota a few people have died and a few dozen police injuries in the clashes. I saw a bit of footage. A few dozen protesters in one place, and nearby a line of police with plastic riot shields, and a handful of young men attacking them with sticks and batons and whatever, seeing they aren't being attacked back by the police. Other scenes of trains on fire.
I searched out the video. Disgusting use of force by two police and later a third against the man they had pinned to the ground. There isn't video of what started it all it seems. They tazed the fuck out of him for a couple minutes. I can see how everyone is outraged. Who wants to be treated like that? He was walking when they took him away. It looked like in the video they took two people away. So he must have died later on.
An hour later and the things burning on the street below are still burning. Flashing blue and reds about a block further away. Occasionally a massive uproar of shouts and voices somewhere blocks away. Whistles from distant corners blowing hard. A night where later the young people in the protests will be still together silent not knowing exactly what to say. Pulling down their black jeans, and off their black t's, and fucking.