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Colombia: the government denounces a "stigmatization campaign" against the police

2021-05-09T11:53:09.248Z

Colombia denounced Friday a "stigmatization campaign" against the police, after criticism from the international community on a use ...



Colombia denounced Friday a

"stigmatization campaign"

against the police, after criticism from the international community on the excessive use of force during the anti-government protests that have rocked the country for ten days and have left at least 26 dead.

"There is a campaign to stigmatize the operations of the security forces on social networks with the aim of turning them against society,"

Defense Minister Diego Molano told local radio Blu Radio, without specifying who would be. behind this alleged campaign.

Read also: Colombia sinks into serious social chaos

The United Nations, the European Union, the United States and human rights organizations have denounced in recent days the disproportionate use of force by Colombian police in cracking down on protests against conservative President Ivan Duque. Diego Molano's remarks follow the dissemination on social networks of images showing demonstrators in the city of Cali (southwest) denouncing attacks by armed police officers. The defense minister, who oversees police in Colombia, admitted that the men appearing in the footage are police officers, but denied that they assaulted protesters. They were investigators in an

"anti-extortion operation

," he said.

“The government's force is directed against the vandals, not against the demonstrators”

, added Diego Molano, According to the government and the prosecution, dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who rejected the signed peace agreement in 2016, and rebels from the National Liberation Army (ELN), the last active guerrilla in Colombia, camouflage themselves among the demonstrators to

“vandalize”

and attack the police. Three police officers were injured by gunfire during the protests. Initially launched against a tax reform project, the protest movement has turned into a wave of contestation of President Duque's policies.

On Friday, the UN reiterated its

"call for the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and demonstration"

in Colombia

to be guaranteed

. Thursday, the Head of State called for a dialogue with

"all sectors"

of society, including the National Strike Committee, a collective which launched the call for mobilization. The government has deployed 47,500 members of the security forces across the country. At least 26 people have been killed and 800 injured in clashes with law enforcement since the protest began on April 28.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-05-09

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