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Attack against student leader Lucas Villas shocks Colombia

2021-05-09T14:56:39.807Z

Lucas Villa was shot eight times by unknown persons on the night of May 5 in Pereira. His status is reserved and his family hopes for a "miracle".



(CNN Spanish) -

Hours before a fierce attack on his life, Lucas Villa was seen happily participating in the demonstrations against the government of Iván Duque in Pereira, a city in central Colombia, about 320 kilometers west of Bogota

There are several videos published on social networks where he appears dancing and peacefully protesting Lucas Villa, a 37-year-old student from the Technological University of Pereira.

"They are killing us in Colombia," he is heard saying in one of the videos while participating in a protest in recent days.

In another video, Lucas, dressed in a blue shirt and white pants, shakes hands with police officers who are guarding the demonstrations in his city.

Then he retires and continues in the peaceful protest with other university students in Pereira.

  • Unidentified people shoot protesters in a Colombian city

Gruesome videos of Lucas Villa's murder and his bullet-riddled body laying on the street are circulating.

I prefer to share videos like this.

Lucas is the guy cheering in the blue shirt.

pic.twitter.com/5lnjfIKICz

- Dan Cohen (@ dancohen3000) May 6, 2021

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Lucas protested, holding a hand up.

His face is now the image of the protests in Colombia that began on April 28 against a tax reform, but which have become a popular display of broader anger against the Duque government.

Lucas Villa Vásquez was not the only one who was murdered: a part of who we are, of what we were going to be, died with him.

pic.twitter.com/8OMapD7SkS

- Daniel Samper Ospina (@DanielSamperO) May 6, 2021

On the night of Wednesday May 5, when the country completed a week of demonstrations against the government of Iván Duque, Villa was in the Pereira Viaduct in a peaceful concentration.

Videos posted on social media that night show the tragedy: strangers shoot eight times from the darkness.

The shouts take over the scene: "An ambulance", they shout in the dark.

A crying woman is heard telling someone to get out of there.

It was chaos taking over a protest that until now was peaceful.

"I was participating in a peaceful sit-in last night on the viaduct and without a word a private car approached and attacked the humanity of my nephew and the people who were there," Martha told Caracol Radio Viviana de las Salas, Villa's aunt.

Another video from the scene shows two men lying wounded by gunshots on the floor after the shooting.

One of them is Lucas Villa Vásquez, the same one who a few hours ago was dancing and protesting peacefully.

"Unfortunately because of the situation, the shots mostly hit my nephew and at this moment, as I tell you, the prognosis is quite discouraging," he added.

"We are waiting for a miracle"

The news quickly spread across the country.

The official report, that of the authorities, speaks of "unknown persons" who shot at protesters.

The Pereira Police “flatly” rejected the events that occurred on a viaduct.

And the city government described these events as "hit men" and offered a reward of about US $ 13,000 for information that would clarify the facts.

The medical department of the San Jorge de Pereira university hospital, where he was admitted, says that Villa, "who was injured in the protests", entered the institution through the emergency room at around 8 pm and arrived with wounds from a "projectile with a firearm" in "Skull, neck, thorax and right lower limb".

Until this Friday, according to the medical report, Villa is in an intensive care unit with a "reserved prognosis."

«We are waiting for a miracle or for a denouement and for my nephew to die.

But that is the prognosis, very discouraging, "De las Salas told Caracol Radio.

Through a statement published this Thursday, the Technological University of Pereira, Lucas Villa's home of study, expressed its outrage at the attack and asked the authorities to clarify the circumstances and find those responsible for the events.

President Iván Duque spoke out on the Villa case.

“We condemn what happened in Pereira with the young Lucas Villa and his companions while they marched peacefully on the viaduct.

@DirectorPolicia Vargas, we have to find the whereabouts of the culprits and bring them to justice.

We do not tolerate these acts of violence and we reject them ”.

Was violence incited?

His aunt describes Lucas Villa as a "one hundred percent pacifist" person.

She says that her nephew "has never made a violent demonstration, he would never endorse a situation in which he was immersed in violent acts of damaging public or private property or people."

She says that the speech of her nephew, who is a yoga instructor and sports student at the Technological University of Pereira, is based "on love, reconciliation" and other ways to address social problems.

On May 6, after the news of the shooting at the Pereira Viaduct spread through all the country's media, many on social networks recalled the words of the mayor of Pereira, Carlos Alberto Maya, who days before convened civilians to form a "common front" with the forces of order to "regain order" in the city.

"We are going to convene all the unions in the city and the members of the private security to form a common front together with the police and the army to restore order in citizen security," Maya said last weekend accompanied by the police and army in front of journalists.

The hashtag #MayaDioLaOrden became a trend as many said that his words could have been interpreted as an order for civilians to arm themselves against protesters.

In an interview with Blu Radio, Mayor Maya denied that he had called for civilians to arm themselves.

"That statement, that claim has never sought for individuals to arm themselves and defend their own interests.

On the contrary, I am sure that the arms should only be at the head of the State ”, the mayor told Blu Radio.

“I apologize if it is the case, if I have been misinterpreted.

What I do have to say is that the police and the mayor are not the only ones responsible for citizen security.

That has never sought to get individuals to arm themselves ”, declared the president.

In her Twitter account, Maya "demanded" the police to find the material and intellectual authors of the attack suffered by young people today on the Pereira viaduct.

The Pereira Police pointed out that authorities are working to clarify the incident "in a timely manner".

Colonel Villamizar called for those who have videos or any probative material to make them available to the authorities.

While that investigation concludes, Villa's family is devastated, and the attack against Lucas and other comrades who were injured mourns Colombia with many rejecting the attempts on the lives of the country's youth amid peaceful demonstrations in Colombia.

Protests in Colombia

Source: cnnespanol

All news articles on 2021-05-09

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