Colombian President Iván Duque Sunday ordered a mass deployment of troops in the city of Cali and its surrounding area to lift the roadblocks which have kept that place under isolation and deprived of supplies of foods and medicines, it was announced.
The blockades at this time are affecting the property, life, honour of many citizens and are affecting the fundamental right to mobility; so that when we analyze the situation of the city, these blockades must be lifted and it has to, with the local authority, with this instruction, be fulfilled, Duque pep-talked his soldiers.
Duque also insisted to the indigenous people of the Indigenous Regional Council of the Cauca (CRIC) who were mounting the picket fences in that city to return to their shelters. The message also to the Minister of the Interior, which we reiterated a couple of hours ago, has to be transmitted to the CRIC group, which at this time and given the circumstances of public order they must return to their safeguards, whenever the A situation of alteration of the public order can provoke confrontations with the citizens at this time, he said.
He also asked the authorities and officials of his government who are in that southwestern capital, among them the Minister of Defense and the Interior, Diego Molano and Daniel Palacio, respectively, to guarantee today the greatest deployment that is had of capacities of our public force to provide all the tranquillity in the city of Cali.
Duque also imposed additional wartime-like restrictions effective until next Saturday to the people of Cali, such as the prohibition of two people on the same motorcycle and the call to local authorities to establish the mobility restriction measures necessary to minimize any risk to public safety. Starting at 00:00 local time Sunday, the Valle del Cauca had its borders closed, the mobility of means of transport and people to enter the territory was restricted.
The measure came after Saturday afternoon civilians, supported by the police, fired at the indigenous peoples gathered in the context of the national strike, according to complaints and live videos broadcast on social media.
Así es como la policía protege a los ricos que le disparan a la Minga. pic.twitter.com/Mn1mJUGt88— Feliciano Valencia (@FelicianoValen) May 9, 2021
Minutes after Duque's order, the Army announced that Soldiers of the Third Brigade, in compliance with military assistance, advance local control through patrols in different sectors of Cali, Jamundí and Yumbo, “seeking to guarantee the well-being of citizens.”
The truth is that one of the demands of the large mobilizations that have taken place in Colombia since last April 28 is to put an end to the militarization of the streets and the cessation of violence against the people. After 12 days of protests, 47 people were killed in the context of the National Strike, 39 of them 39 at the hands of the state's forces.
Since April 28 protests have been ongoing and what started as a reaction against harmful tax reform, turned into a wave of mass mobilizations attacked by police squads in civilian clothing as repression mounts in a country where the president seems to remain unaware of what he has sparked and what he intends to uphold at any cost, such as the normal playing of the Copa America football competition scheduled to begin June 13.