The latest stop in former President Alvaro Uribe‘s Velez campaign for the Colombian Senate ended in a police crackdown Sunday as violence erupted in the Northern city of Cucuta, according to national media sources. Uribe made the visit to the Venezuelan border town accompanied by presidential candidate Ivan Zuluaga to rally support for the Democratic Center party ticket.
While the ex-president delivered a speech in one of the city’s local parks, protesters chanted, “Uribe the fascist. You are a terrorist.”
This sparked friction with Uribe supporters present in the crowd and ultimately led to violent clashes between the two sides and on-site police officers.
The fracas left 10 injured and 3 people hospitalized, according to Radio Santa Fe.
The incident is part of a growing trend in the former president’s Senate campaign. Already this month, his visits to Tunja, Palmira and Soacha have all been met with hostility from locals.
Uribe and his team reportedly fled Cucuta to the nearby town of Los Patios once clashes began. It’s unclear if Uribe, traditionally known for his fiery public speaking and ability to connect with voters in informal settings, will make changes to his campaign strategy, in light of the intense backlash he has been receiving along the campaign trail.
Once an unprecedentedly popular figure in Colombian politics, Uribe has suffered a series of sharp blows to his public image since leaving the presidency, as allegations of illegal spying, parapolitics and narcotrafficking continue to surround him and his political allies.