Thousands of protesters converged at Plaza Bolivar in central Bogota where confrontations took place as protesters launched homemade missiles and potato-bombs at the police who tried to control the situation with teargas.
“There were water canons in downtown Candelaria (Bogota), they were driving up on the pavements, it’s all kicking off,” said reporter Esteban Manriquez who was at the scene. Although there has been no official report at this point it is alleged that one person was injured and at least 10 were arrested.
The marches were part of the “week of indignation” organized by social groups to raise government awareness of how the armed conflict has affected them, and to demand an active role in the upcoming peace talks.
According to reports, many distinct sectors of society were represented at the marches in Bogota, from nation apprenticeship students to judicial officials who were on strike.
David Florez spokesman for the left-wing Patriotic March movement, which organized the protest along with other popular social groups said that the “national march of the indignant” affected 25 of the 32 Colombian departments and was seeking to “civilize the multiple disagreements the Colombian towns have with the unequal model of the country.”
“At this time we must demand the participation of the popular movement at the peace dialogues,” said the left-wing spokesman, referring to the negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC which begin next week in the Norwegian capital Oslo.
“The possibility of constructing peace and discussing the model of the country for the rest of the Colombians, can’t be real peace if Colombia continues to be one of the most unequal countries in the world,” said Florez.
“The government has not heard the cry of social organizations … the government has refused these social and popular organizations a presence at the round table … where will civil society be represented?” said Carlos Lozano, of the Patriotic March movement.