Protests in the downtown area of Colombia’s second biggest city Medellin have continued from Monday.
Disenchanted street vendors staged low-scale demonstrations in Medellin Tuesday morning. The two protests took place at Bombona Towers (see map below) and near a major shopping complex at San Antonio, both located in the downtown area. By the close of normal business hours, there have been reports of rioting near the the metro stations at Parque Berrio, San Antonio, as well as the Bombona area.
Local authorities have been on high alert after 39 people were arrested on Monday. Medellin’s downtown area was transformed into scenes of chaos yesterday as angry street vendors took to the streets in protest, before engaging in violent clashes with police.
Local vendors had planned to meet with city officials on Monday morning to discuss trading rights; however when no one from the local government showed up traders took to the streets and blocked off major routes throughout the city center.
Many of the rioters donned masks and threw homemade weapons at police as they advanced down Medellin’s main streets. Heavily armed riot police then fired off volleys of low-grade tear gas, causing pedestrians to scatter in panic.
The chaos left three of the city’s central metro stations temporarily closed and caused damage to a number of shops.
Medellin Mayor Anibal Gaviria has since blamed the events on criminal gangs and asserted the city is now in the process of recovery.