Dozens require medical treatment amid fresh Bogotá riots
Bogotá, May 26 (EFE).- New riots in Bogotá caused at least 82 people to require medical treatment for injuries and the effects of tear gas Wednesday in clashes that occurred after a mostly peaceful “national strike.”
The most precarious situation occurred in the Usme neighborhood, in the south of the city, where the Red Cross treated 77 civilians and five police officers “in the middle of the demonstrations,” which are part of the wave of protests that began on Apr. 28 against the social and economic policies of the government.
The organization said 60 people suffered damage to the eyes and respiratory tract, and 15 to the head, face, arms and legs, among other injuries.
The demonstrations began four weeks ago against President Iván Duque and, according to official data, 19 deaths have been confirmed in relation to the protests of the 43 reported to the authorities, while the NGO Temblores reports that police violence is responsible for 43 deaths in the marches.
Police clashed with protesters and hooded men in the Yomasa sector, which caused blockades that, according to the Secretary of Government of Bogotá, Luis Ernesto Gómez, prevented the passage of an ambulance that was also attacked.
“Low-severity injuries in Usme are treated directly by the Red Cross and by first aid workers from the Government Secretariat. The seriously injured are taken by ambulances to hospitals. To guarantee vehicular passage in Yomasa, police intervention was necessary,” said Gómez on Twitter.
He added that City Hall officials seeking to mediate between the police and the protesters “were threatened with knives by violent protesters.”
“Under such conditions, it is the Bogotá Police that legitimately restores public order through the intervention of the Esmad (Mobile Anti-Riot Squad),” Gómez said.
Meanwhile, Bogotá councilors denounced the police during the day, including Diego Cancino of the Green Alliance, who said that “the use of gases is disproportionate and affects the population of the neighborhoods, leaving dozens suffocated.”
He later tweeted: “What is this horror! (…) 125 injured at this time in Usme. Esmad acts with total cruelty against the population. Alert, we don’t want any more deaths.”
In addition to the clashes in Usme, there were riots in the Portal de las Américas, in western Bogotá, where there have been excesses almost every day since the demonstrations began. EFE