Speaking to demonstrators in the Colombian capital, Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro called for new protests for next week, promising changes to the public transportation system, according to national media.
Petro attempted to assuage protestors who had shutdown much of the city’s public transport system, saying that he would meet with the bus companies that run Bogota’s primary public rail, the Transmilenio. “The demonstration cannot affect other [public transport] users any more. The proposal is to locate how we can target change in these contracts,” he told the crowd.
FACT SHEET: TransMilenio
The mayor went on to encourage his audience to meet again the Plaza Bolivar next Tuesday for another round of protests.
En dialogo con la ciudadanía usuaria de Transmilenio pic.twitter.com/QUqyt0bnVP
— Gustavo Petro (@petrogustavo) March 4, 2014
Even after tens of citizens were injured in clashes with anti-riot police and 8 more were arrested across the city of Bogota, Petro appeared at a bus station addressing protestors in public, attempting to calm them down. He engaged with a group of protestors in dialogue for nearly 5 hours.
The mayor, who is currently facing the real possibility of being thrown out of office due to a mishandling of his decision to publicize the garbage collection industry in Bogota, made comments that alluded to his beliefs on making more city services public. During his multi-hour talk back with the protestors, Petro implied that this is what happens when certain services are run by private enterprises, according to radio station Caracol.
In terms of actionable plans, the former guerrilla-turned mayor said that he will seek to renegotiate current contracts with the bus companies, try to get more seats on buses for passengers, and lower the price for commuters traveling between 4-6 AM to $.70.