President Ivan Duque called on the maximum deployment of Colombia’s security forces while his peace commissioner ignored strike leaders’ demands to end the violent repression of peaceful protests.
In a televised address, Duque ordered the security forces’ maximum deployment claiming that “there is a clear criminal interest” behind roadblocks that have been put up in the southwest of the country.
There exists no evidence of any involvement of criminal organizations or guerrilla groups in the protests.
The president made the announcement while the organizers of national strikes were in a meeting with Peace Commissioner Miguel Ceballos who rejected demands to end police brutality.
The National Strike Committee responded furiously to the deceit and claimed “Duque has declared war on the strike.”
The strike organizers have nothing to do with the roadblocks or the majority of protests that erupted in response to a violent crackdown on protests in support of the April 28 strike.
The government has tried to associate the strike organizers and peaceful protesters with acts of violence and vandalism that in some cases were carried out by police.
Human Rights Watch is verifying reports that police additionally murdered more than 50 people in the most brutal attempt to quell the ongoing protests.
Local human rights organization Temblores received more than 2,100 reports of police brutality, the NGO said Thursday.
More than 440 of these reports related to police violently cracking down on peaceful protests and more than 1,000 related to the arbitrary detention of protesters.
Reports of police terror continued and evidence of police involvement in armed attacks on peaceful protesters mounted on Monday.
Opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda said that he had sent additional evidence of crimes against humanity to the International Criminal Court to support criminal charges against Duque, Defense Minister Diego Molano and the commanders of the National Police and the National Army.