Colombia presidential candidate Peñalosa laments Metro brawl

The campaign team for Enrique Peñalosa, presidential candidate for the Green Party, have distanced themselves from supporters who were involved in a fight with two auxiliary police officers on Sunday afternoon, El Colombiano reported Tuesday.

“One of the principles of our campaign is respect for people and institutions and compliance  with the law, and the rejection of any form of violence. We want Colombia to be a country of peace, and that is why we reject these acts of intolerance, regardless of the reasons that led to this event,” said Peñalosa.

MORE: Peñalosa supporters clash with police in Medellin 

According to several witnesses, the scuffle began on Sunday when police told campaigners that they were not authorized to distribute political advertising within Metro facilities. This triggered verbal and physical attacks from both sides which escalated off the train platform and onto the stairs of the station itself.

A campaign spokesman said the people involved were not part of the official campaign staff.

Peñalosa also offered apologies to the auxiliary graduates, the National Police and the citizens of Medellin.

Meanwhile, the commander of the Metropolitan Police in Medellin, General Jose Angel Mendoza, said the police response was not an action of the institution against the political campaign, but that the agent who prevented access to political campaigners was simply enforcing the rules of  mass transport, which does not allow political activities within their doors or facilities.

He specified that the young members of the campaign were entering the metro all at once wearing their green campaign shirts.

But, he added , the incident only occurred when they tried to enter with a banner, which is not permitted by the rules of the metro. This led to an exchange of words, then shoving, and finally a physical fight, which was recorded on a video released on social networks.

“We never wanted to attack someone in particular, much less a campaign. What was done was to enforce the rules of the Metro” he said.

Sources

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