On May 13, a peaceful protest was held at the Colombian 🇨 consulate of Barcelona against state terrorism and in support of the Paro (Strike). 5 people who participated are facing prosecution. Let’s defend the right to protest in Colombia and Barcelona.
Defending the right to protest in Colombia and Barcelona
Since the beginning of the national strike in Colombia on April 28th, the signs of support from Barcelona have multiplied in the streets. On May 13, a group of people held a peaceful protest at the consulate in the city. The symbolic action was condemned by the Centro Democratico, Uribe’s ultra-right-wing party, and the Colombian Foreign Ministry issued a press release calling the protest at the consulate “vandalism attacks” and “entering by force”, they also said that the people who were demonstrating peacefully had “endangered the lives of officials and the provision of procedures and services offered to nationals”. The reality is that it was a peaceful action, in which a communiqué was read and a banner was hung with a strong message of support to the mobilizations in Colombia. There were only 15 minutes in which there was no confrontation of any kind with the officials and the message was spread through the networks at an international level.
There are more than 6 million Colombian men and women abroad, who live with anguish and indignation the state repression of the strike which, before the day of last Friday, May 28, in which 9 people were killed in Cali, has already claimed more than forty fatalities. Figures documented by the NGO Temblores warn of 22 complaints of sexual violence, responsibility of the public forces, at least 47 eye victims, and hundreds of disappearances. The controversial decree 575 of May 28, 2021, which was approved by President Iván Duque, militarizes 8 departments and 13 cities in the country. It is the immediate precedent to the state of internal commotion that in other countries is called state of siege or state of war.
Despite this, the hope of the Colombian people who resist after more than a month is contagious. The resignations of high-ranking government officials follow one after another, and part of the reforms proposed by Iván Duque have fallen. But it is not enough, the social outburst has allowed to dream again of a deeper social transformation.
The Democratic Center party has wanted, since the beginning of the strike, to delegitimize and criminalize the social protest in Colombia, but also the numerous support mobilizations carried out from abroad. The same criminalization strategies used in Colombia are being used elsewhere. For example, via Twitter Álvaro Uribe has referred to those of us who participate in solidarity rallies in Barcelona as guerrillas or, showing all his racism, as “Bolivarian Venezuelans”.
But this has not remained on Twitter. Recently, the Spanish National Police has opened a police report against 5 people who participated in the aforementioned peaceful protest on May 13 at the Colombian consulate in Barcelona. They went to look for them at their homes and summoned them to testify as investigators at the police station on May 21. That day it was discovered with astonishment that the national police wanted to charge them with a crime of public disorder. The police report has not even reached the courts, where a judge will decide whether or not to admit the proceedings, despite the fact that there is no legal basis that coincides with the peaceful protest.
The Colombian consulate in Barcelona and the Spanish national police are behind these serious allegations. We therefore call on Consul Daniela Echevarria to respect the right to protest in Barcelona, as well as to call on the Colombian government and its political leaders and diplomatic representatives to cease all criminalization of the just and legitimate protests of the Colombian people, as well as the actions of support and solidarity that are being carried out by the other Colombia outside the country.
This letter is a message not only from the Colombian diaspora, but also from Catalan organizations and the Spanish state, who are in solidarity and accompany the dignified struggle in Colombia against the policies of death and state terrorism. We will continue to accompany the mobilizations and, above all, we will not leave our comrades in Colombia alone. To the Colombia that struggles we say: “If you continue, so will we”.
PEOPLE DO NOT SURRENDER!!!