July 15, 2020

Torches are lit in Bogotá in protest of the rape of an indigenous girl



The rejection of the rape of an indigenous girl by seven Colombian Army soldiers turned to the streets in Bogotá on Tuesday, where some 300 people protested the violence that has been rampant this year, especially with women and social leaders.

“The rape of the Embera girl, we denounce her, we denounce her! We denounce the rapist Army, we denounce it, we denounce it! We demand women’s rights, we demand it, we demand it!” Shouted the protesters who were raising torches and banners.

The demonstration was called a day after at least one hundred people stood in front of the North Canton, the main military unit in Bogotá, to reject the rape of the 12-year-old girl from the Embera-Chamí town, sexually abused ten days ago in the Risaralda department (center).

“The people support the rebels”, “The true heroes are not rapists or murderers” or “The Police do not take care of us, the front line takes care of us”, said in reference to a group of the protesters themselves some of the messages written in posters with which the group advanced on the Northern Highway of the capital.

These mobilizations occur at a time when the behavior of members of the Army is questioned by allegations of sexual abuse, murder of civilians, espionage and corruption, for which reason different sectors ask the justice system to ensure that the girl’s case does not go unpunished.

“We raise our voice against state terrorism and #ElEncierroNOmeCalla repressive, rapist and murderous forces,” said the political and social movement of the Peoples Congress.

THE MARCH OF THE OUTRAGEED

Although the mobilization was called to condemn the case of sexual abuse against the indigenous minor, it was joined by groups of transporters, employees of the tourism sector and others affected by the paralysis of economic activity caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The demonstration was also joined by small groups protesting for reasons as diverse as the arrival in Colombia of military advisers from the United States to fight drug trafficking or against the murder of African-American George Floyd.

Others spoke out against the murder of social leaders who number 150 so far this year, according to figures from the Institute of Studies for Development and Peace (Indepaz).

“Stop the war against the people. Revolution, no less,” read another banner held up by a group of young people, while shouting that what is being lived in Colombia is not a democracy.

The protest was also joined by groups and organizations outraged by the economic crisis generated by the coronavirus pandemic that has left millions of people without jobs since the health emergency began in mid-March.

This Tuesday the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE) reported that unemployment in Colombia reached a record 21.4% in May as a consequence of the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a result that represents the loss of 4.9 millions of jobs.

Although many of the protesters ignored the recommended sanitary measures to avoid possible coronavirus infections, such as the use of masks and physical distancing, the demonstration was carried out peacefully.

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