Colombia’s police have presented photos of 48 people they believe were responsible for much of the violence that exploded in Bogota on Thursday.
The photos are accompanied by numbers and is comprised of 46 men and 2 women. There is a reward for any information given that might lead to their identification and capture. The alleged “vandals” were found after the police studied footage from security cameras and other video evidence. Those found will reportedly face charges ranging from damage to property, attacking a public servant, conspiracy to commit a crime, to terrorism.
Initially peaceful protests involving a reported 40,000 people descended into violence on Thursday afternoon after clashes with police that left around 200 injured and caused material damage to buildings.
The major-general of the police force, Rodolfo Palomino, said on Friday that the list of photos enables people “to see the faces of those that were inciting violence, not just towards members of the police force, but also towards civilians.”
He expects to add to the list as more evidence is found, and even called on those parents aware of their children’s involvement in the violence to denounce them before the authorities.
Palomino also called for information relating to alleged threats made against people and businesses in Bogota: “We have found evidence of a series of threats […] some pressuring people to stop their participation in marches and protests; others intimidating businesses, gas stations, and citizens into stopping their work.”
According to the police, Thursday’s violence resulted in injuries to 129 policemen nationwide, with 92 of those injuries sustained in Bogota. Forty people were arrested.
The protests were organized by Colombia’s largest student rights organization and coincided with widespread national anti-government protests that have been going on since Monday, August 19th. In response to the violence, the country’s President announced he would be deploying 50,000 troops across the country to unblock roads and “deal with the thugs and vandals who only want destruction and social chaos.”
On Friday, in an attempt to defuse the situation, farmers from the departments of Boyaca, Nariño, and Cundinamarca agreed to remove the roadblocks they’d setup in their respective departments. Santos reportedly views the removal of roadblocks as a prerequisite for resuming talks with the strikers, which he had suspended earlier the same day.