Twitter deleted a tweet of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, claiming the far-right politician was “glorifying violence” during anti-government protests.
The intervention of the social media platform followed mass indignation over a tweet in which Uribe called to support the use of deadly force against protesters.
The tweet of the former Medellin Cartel associate followed the assassination of a teenager by a policemen in Cali where human rights organizations fear security forces massacred 14 people since Wednesday.
Let’s support the right of soldiers and police to use their firearms to defend their integrity and to defend people and property from criminal acts of terrorist vandalism.
Former President Alvaro Uribe
Uribe has published a flurry of tweets in which he inflated incidents of vandalism and implied that people participating in a national strike and anti-government protests were responsible for violence.
The Americas director of Human Rights Watch, Miguel Vivanco, tweeted that “someone needs to explain Uribe” that “according to international standards, the police can only use firearms as a last resort to stop a certain threat to life.”
Opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda said he would file criminal charges against the far-right politician who resigned from the Senate last year to evade a Supreme Court investigation into his alleged criminal activity.
The misrepresentation of violence
The marches that were organized as part of the national strike were largely peaceful and much of the reported violence seemed part of a campaign to criminalize the protesters.
The allegedly criminal former president was banned from Twitter for two weeks in 2019 when he published the names of organizers of protests against his puppet, President Ivan Duque.
Like in 2019, attempts to criminalize government critics has fueled anti-government protests that have continued unabated throughout Colombia since Wednesday.
The perfect excuse of police brutality
Uribe’s false claims provided Duque’s defense minister, Diego Molano, with the justification to brutally crack down on protests, which has left an unknown number of people dead and many dozens injured.
The national strike was initially called as a protest against a tax reform proposed by Finance Minister and alleged fraudster Alberto Carrasquilla in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Carrasquilla’s previous tax reform fueled the 2019 anti-government protests that turned out to be the largest in Colombia in more than four decades.
The current police violence could mean trouble for Duque and Molano who were ordered by the Supreme Court to refrain from violently repressing Colombians’ constitutional right to protest peacefully.