From the first hours of the early morning mobilisations came together at different points in the city. All of them were violently repressed by the anti-mutiny police with their agents and armoured cars.
So far we have 24 detainees reported, an indeterminate number with wounds and contusions, and 3 seriously injured – a woman worker from Telecom and two taxi drivers who participated in their sector’s demonstration. Several of the taxi drivers have considerable injuries as a result of the brutality and aggression of the state forces.
We point out that in the capital city the STOPPAGE has had great importance, such as there has not been in recent years, and its successful development is due to the involvement of workers in the public transport sector. It also affected the Transmilenio transport for 5 hours, with one of the marches in Caracas Avenue taking over the Transmilenio.
The place where the forces of the anti-mutiny police dealt out their most violent and destructive treatment was at the San Juan de Dios Hospital, where their armoured cars knocked down the main gate. It is still not known the magnitude of the destruction that they carried out in this health centre. It is important to emphasise that when the government says that it treats protest demonstrations in a democratic manner this is the purest demagogy to sell to the to International Community. This does not happen in our country. Approximately 80,000 people gathered in Plaza de Bolivar, the traditional place where all demonstrations meet up.
CALI METROPOLITAN, MUNICIPALITIES IN THE NORTH OF CAUCA
There were 4 marches in Cali city, in which protesters from the neighbouring municipalities of Yumbo, Jamundi and others also participated. The state forces did not dare provoke the marchers. The Defender of the People (Ombudsman) as well as representatives of the Personería Municipal (Citizens Advice) kept a constant watch. A highlight of the marches in this city was that they were integrated, with workers and members of popular communities from the Agua Blanca district and the barrios of Las Lomas marching together. It is also important to note that these mobilisations included the participation of communities from the North of Cauca. Transport, commerce and all normal activity of the city was totally affected by the stoppage.
DEL VALLE UNIVERSITY
From 30th May 2001 the Colombian University Workers Trade Union – SINTRAUNICOL– has been in peaceful occupation of university buildings (the Administration Building and the Dean’s Office of the Health Sciences Faculty). This peaceful protest is to reject the violation of the labour agreement between the union and the university, that has been done in an attempt to break the workers’ contracts.
Forces from the extreme right have initiated a policy of intimidation against the leadership of the trade union, and specifically against its two principal leaders, comrades CARLOS RODRÕGUEZ the union’s President and CARLOS ARBEY GONZALEZ, the union’s auditor and a member of the CUT’s National Committee.
A central demonstration with approximatley 3,000 people participating from various trade unions, social groups, peasants and students paralysed commerce and inter-city transport. There was a blockade of the Pan-American Highway from 9am to 3pm. The state forces responded aggressively and tried to dislodge the blockade twice during the day.
Then, at the end of the march, a group of students being driven in a lorry were intercepted by two trooper vehicles and a car with registration BGH 25 A carrying six men in civilian dress and heavily armed. These men arrested a peasant (JOSE ARQUIMIO MESA) and a student (JAVIER PAEZ BAEZ). Then, through representations by the Human Rights Department of the CUT, the detainees were let go. It was verified that the car was from the police.
From the early hours of the morning the marches and gatherings were violently attacked by the anti-mutiny police, who managed to register a tally of 19 detentions and 5 injured. The protest totally stopped transport, commerce and the normal life of the city.
From 7:30am onwards transport and commerce were affected by the mobilisations of workers and people from the marginalised communities of this city. On the outskirts of the city, on the road that goes from Popayán to Cali, a blockade of the Pan American Highway started at 8 am and lasted all day. At the moment of writing this bulletin we do not have information on the behaviour of the state forces.
There was an event in the course of the morning with 10,000 people demonstrating. The health sector workers stood out, with backing from the private sector unions, as well as the participation of students, peasants and social groups. The teaching profession did not participate actively as had been hoped, nor did sectors from the nearby municipalities.
There were 4 marches in the morning which gave difficulties for transport and paralysed the banking sector. The police broke the demonstrators’ banners. All of the sectors assembled together in Berrio Park until 5 in the afternoon.
During the day representatives from several sectors marched, and there were disturbances due to a grenade against them. And there was a blockade of Palenque Bridge which leads to Barrancabermeja, where the President of a trade union and 5 more leaders were detained.
The march went to the principal square where there were disturbances with the police, but without victims.
Jesús Antonio Gonzalez Luna Human Rights Department, CUT