Two mass evictions led to riots in Western Colombia on Wednesday, when eight people, including two policemen, were reportedly injured, according to Colombia’s El Tiempo newspaper .
In the first incident, three civilians and a police officer sustained injuries in riots, following the eviction of a reported 300 people from a hillside settlement in Alto Los Chorros, southwest of state capital, Cali. The area reportedly formed part of the site of the local Mario Correa Rengifo hospital.
|“We don’t have anywhere to live. This is horrible, [the police] don’t respect that there are children here, they were releasing tear gas when there are two kindergartens here.”|
At least 50 makeshift homes had been set up in the area by families over the last two months, reported Colombian newspaper, El Espectador.
Lease ends, but people stay
The end of their lease was officially May 5, but occupants had continued to live in the settlement, according to El Tiempo.
When authorities tried to move them along, violence ensued.
The second incident saw around 250 ex-residents of an informal settlement in Brisas del Nuevo Amenecer of the Cauca river attempt to reclaim land from which they were evicted four years ago. A reported three civilians and one police officer were injured in the riots, which took place in front of a government environmental protection agency building.
Violence escalated to involve use of tear gas
The violence in Alto Los Chorros, which started as 100 police officers arrived to carry out the evacuation, escalated to involve stoning by the inhabitants and the use of tear gas by the police.
An ex-resident involved in the protests told El Tiempo: “We don’t have anywhere to live. This is horrible, [the police] don’t respect that there are children here, they were releasing tear gas when there are two kindergartens here.”
El Tiempo also reported a government representative claimed that the eviction was in response to a request by the hospital to recover their land to help fund an expansion project.