Tomorrow, a national strike has been called for in Colombia by a broad sector in civil society to protest against the government’s policies, the lack of progress in the implementation of the peace agreement with FARC-EP, the situation of violence, which affects indigenous and rural communities, the lack of guarantees for social leaders and ex-combatants, and corruption.
Organisations and social movements warn of the risk of excessive use of force by members of the security forces during demonstrations, of massive and generalized detentions of people exercising their right to demonstrate and the stigmatization of the sectors calling for strike by members of the governing party, which endangers social leaders. Between January and September 2019 there have been more than 100 murders of human rights defenders, and in October alone 11 indigenous leaders have been assassinated.
The Government of Colombia is adopting a position against respect for freedom of expression and protest, militarising Colombia, launching a campaign of intimidation and coercion to dissuade citizens from participating in the mobilization. Since 19 November, raids have taken place against the headquarters of social organisations calling for the mobilization with arrests. Colombia has also agreed to close its borders by the 21st, which makes the de facto imposition of a state of exception unsuitable for a country that claims to be democratic. Yesterday, 19 raids were carried out in Bogotá, 8 in Cali and 4 in Medellín in the homes of protest leaders, as well as in the headquarters of the teachers’ union, and six promoters of the protest were arrested in the vicinity of a secondary school in the early hours of today, November 20.
In view of the coercive actions and violence committed against social sectors calling for the mobilisations of 21 November by the authorities, the stigmatisation and criminalisation of social protest and the militarisation of territories in the context of social protests and mobilisations, the Left group in the European Parliament calls on the EU to be vigilant during the National Strike of 21 November because of the risk of brutal repression and violence against the Colombian people.