The former vice president of Colombia, Francisco Santos, proposed using electric shock weapons to control student marches, which he believes are getting out of control.
According to the former vice president, who is also the cousin of the current president Juan Manuel Santos, the students that take to the streets to protest “will be faced, forcefully, with the legal arm of state repression.”
The protests have been taking place all over the country in opposition to a government proposal to reform higher education in the country.
Santos has been particularly scathing of the policies of his cousin and Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos, arguing that the head of state has not been tough enough and that the protests have shown the president’s weak side. “The president has shown that he is trembling… he doesn’t like to confront problems. He likes to stand back, he prefers to give in and stay out of trouble,” said the ex-vice president.
In order to end the marches Santos believes the state needs innovate by using methods such as tasers, demonstrating that the government will stand firm in the face of massive country wide demonstrations.
Responses to the former vice presidents comments have been anything but supportive, with one person saying “this is the best example of the fascism that runs through the veins of the leaders of this country.” Another accused him of propagating terrorism against the student population.
Students held nation wide protests Thursday, slowing down cities across the country in what protesters see as a fight for their fundamental rights to free speech and to education.
Following an ongoing strike at public universities and relentless student protests, President Juan Manuel Santos agreed Wednesday that he would be willing to remove the controversial reform from the table on the condition that classes continue and students stop protesting.