The Situation in Bogotá: Synopsis of Urban Uprising

Published September 12, 2020

The Situation in Bogotá: Synopsis of Urban Uprising

On Tuesday night in Bogotá, the police killed Javier Ordoñez, a lawyer and taxi driver, father of two. He was hanging out in his neighborhood, having a drink with friends. The police beat him, tasered him 12 times with 50,000 watts, and suffocated him while he was screaming, “Por favor, no mas!” (Please, No More!) until he became unconscious. He was taken while unconscious to a C.A.I. where police beat him to death. (CAI - Centro de Atencion Inmediata - are police huts that operate in each neighborhood of Bogotá).

The murder was recorded on video and shared online. The day after, a general call went out to protest the killing of Javier. People came out in many different places in the city where C.A.I. are located, especially where Javier was murdered. CAI have also been documented sites where police rape, torture and kill.

Quickly, the protest became very militant, and riots started everywhere–several C.A.I. were destroyed and set on fire; many police cars and motorcycles were burned; banks and government buildings were burned down. Also, the ‘Transmilenio’ bus infrastructure, which operates as the primary form of transport in the city instead of a subway, was burned.

The media are blaming the protesters and focusing on the property and police destruction. Duque, the right-wing president, asked the military to take over the city.

Many other cities in Colombia also protested in solidarity. All of this is happenening simultaneously, where there have been 54 massacres in 2020 in Colombia against social leaders and ex-guerrillas.