Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday condemned riots that have been taking place in dozens of towns across the country following Sunday’s local elections.
According to several media sources, at least 30 different municipalities have faced unrest since Sunday and Monday when the election results were announced.
The deputy director of Colombia’s National Police, Jose Roberto Leon Riaño, was quoted by newspaper El Espectador as saying that security forces were able to re-establish order in parts of the country but that in 50 municipalities authorities are still on alert for a possible outbreak of riots.
While the police director said authorities “are still investigating who are behind these violent protests,” Santos warned that he had instructed “not just the police, but also the army” not to allow any further public disorder.
“We are going to take preventive measures so that when someone else takes up violence he will meet the strength of our security forces. We will not allow that these sore losers let down our democracy and our country simply because they lost the elections,” Santos said.
The latest town where riots broke out was the northern Ponedera where residents burnt to the town hall Tuesday. According to the approximately 500 protesters, more than a thousand people — equal to 6% of the town’s electorate — from outside the town arrived in Ponedera to cast their vote in the elections that were won by Cambio Radical candidate Hernando Julio Manotas.
So far, two people died and six were injured in riots that took place mostly in the north and center of the country.