What to Know About the Massive Political Protests in Colombia
The eyes of the world are on Colombia as massive protests in the country have left at least four dead and hundreds injured. People took to the streets in cities like Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, demanding changes to the minimum wage as well as tax and labor reforms. Protesters also spoke out against government corruption and growing violence in the country, demanding the resignation of president Iván Duque.
JUSTICE FOR DILAN
As Dilan Cruz, an 18-year-old student, fought for his life in a hospital in Bogotá, protesters remained in the streets with t-shirts and signs honoring him. Dilan, who recently passed away, became a symbol of resistance after suffering head trauma in one of the demonstrations. He was hit by a gas canister fired by a member of the ESMAD, the city’s anti-riot police.
NO MORE VIOLENCE
People are demanding justice for Dilan and protesting against the ESMAD police force.
J BALVIN'S MESSAGE
Singer J Balvin quoted the Dalai Lama in reaction to the crisis in his native Colombia. "In the practice of tolerance our enemy is our best teacher," he captioned an Instagram photo of the Colombian flag.
SAY A PRAYER
People pray in the streets for Dilan Cruz in Bogotá, where the student was injured by the ESMAD during a demonstration last Saturday. The young man recently passed away after being in an induced coma at the San Ignacio Hospital, where hundreds of supporters gathered.
LOUD AND CLEAR
Grafitti like this, which reads "Duque's resignation," show the people's discontent with president Iván Duque.
Colombian singer Maluma shared a video on social media reacting to the crisis in his country. "I'm very sad," he said. "Parceros, this is not the way. I want to invite you not to destroy, but to build instead with peace, to go to the streets to give a message of love. It's not a matter of going out to harm our country, to damage what it took us so many years to build together as a people."
NO TO VANDALISM
Maluma added he wished he was there in the streets, but protesting peacefully. He condemned people who had turned the protests violent and engaged in acts of vandalism, and celebrated those who expressed their discontent in another way. "Violence is not the answer," he emphasized. "Let's act from the bottom of our hearts, with lots of peace, harmony, positivism."
LISTEN TO THE PEOPLE
"When the people unite, it's inevitable that the governments must listen. I'm with you in my heart and soul. YOU ARE GREAT, COLOMBIA!" Colombian singer Karol G wrote on Twitter.
JUANES SPEAKS OUT
Colombian singer Juanes also expressed his concern on Instagram, advocating for peaceful change and compassion. "It fills me with hope seeing the awakening of the collective conscience, [people] lifting up their voices to demand what is fair. At the same time, it fills me with rage and frustration to see the systematic violence used to deviate and delegitimize the peaceful demonstrations, and seeing how some groups want to see the country in chaos," he wrote on Instagram. "I think of Dilan and his family, but I also think of all the police officers and their families. It's not easy for anyone."
A TIME FOR CHANGE
Colombia's president has been criticized for hosting 1.4 million refugees fleeing neighboring Venezuela and for his handling of the fallout from a 2016 peace deal with FARC rebels, among other issues. After the massive protests, Duque said it was time to open up a national dialogue.