President Santos was speaking at what should have been a routine public relations event focusing on the country’s technological opportunities at a convention center in downtown Bogota, when students began shouting in protest.
“Down with the Lleras Law!” and “Out, out, out!,” they screamed among whistling and other profanities. Ultimately, the head of state had to leave early under the protection of bodyguards and uniformed police.
The “Lleras Law” was a bill proposed in 2011 by then interior minister German Vargas Lleras, which imposed stricter copyright laws aimed at complying with the US-Colombia FTA. However, the bill received criticism from analysts and prompted cyber attacks from the Internet hacking group Anonymous. There were fears that the act would hinder freedom of expression and access to information posted on the web. As a result, Congress shelved the bill last October.
Earlier this year, the Santos administration favoured “Law 201”, which can be seen as a substitute for the Lleras Law. According to the Centre for Democracy and Technology, Law 201 “will expand copyright protection, penalties, and enforcement in Colombia.”