Unrest continues to spread throughout Colombia following Sunday’s local elections, local media report. To curb the post-election violence — fueled by suspicions of electoral fraud — 5,000 policemen are sent to the different regions.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, 31 rioters have been arrested in relation to the unrest. In some of the 24 cases that were taken to court, prosecutors have charged the suspects with terrorism. The newspaper added that among those arrested are local election candidates with alleged ties to organized crime who are suspected of instigating the violence.
Official sources say that violence has spread to 12 of Colombia’s 32 departments.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday condemned the riots and warned that he had instructed “not just the police, but also the army” not to allow any further public disorder.
“We are going to take preventive measures so that when someone else takes up violence he will meet the strength of our security forces. We will not allow that these sore losers let down our democracy and our country simply because they lost the elections,” Santos said.
So far, at least two protesters have died in the unrest and seven policemen have been injured – none of them critically.