Colombia: Seven Dead, Hundreds Injured as Rioters Burn Dozens of Police Stations

BOGOTÁ, Colombia — At least seven people have died and hundreds more were injured during anti-police riots in the Colombian capital of Bogotá on Wednesday after police killed a taxi driver after violating quarantine restrictions.

The protests began after Javier Ordóñez, a law student working as a taxi driver during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, died in the early hours of Wednesday morning. Reports indicate police used a taser to electrocute Ordóñez to death.

Footage from the incident shows Ordóñez, who police stopped on suspicion of violating quarantine restrictions, being held down and repeatedly tasered, presumably after refusing to cooperate. Video circulating on social media appears to show Ordóñez saying “enough please, enough, no more, please” and “I’m choking” as officers kneel on him.

“He’s telling you ‘please,’ we’re recording you, don’t continue. … Why do you continue harming him if he’s said please?” says the man filming the incident. Ordóñez later died in the hospital, leading to a wave of riots.

Protests broke out in the neighborhood of Engativá, where the incident took place, before spreading across the city and eventually to other parts of the country. In Bogotá, rioters targeted police posts known as CAIs, small police stations often consisting of just one room spread across the city, attacking more than 40 of them and burning 12 down.

Bogotá’s left-wing mayor, Claudia López, condemned what she described as “unacceptable police brutality” but also urged protesters to refrain from violence and vandalism.

“Destroying the city won’t put an end to police abuses,” she warned.

The two police officers involved in the killing have been suspended and Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo ordered an internal investigation into the incident. He also forcefully condemned the rioting and pledged to deploy 1,600 more police to restore law and order.

“Our assessment shows the atrocity of the vandalism, the atrocity of the violence that took place yesterday. This assessment mourns for society every time human lives are lost and it mourns society every time it gave rise to the damage to public goods that are at the service of the citizenry,” Trujillo said.

“The Government’s policy is zero tolerance with the violation of the law and constitutional norms (…) for that reason, we once again reject, with pain and indignation, the facts that could compromise two police officers, and which concluded in the death of Mr. Ordóñez,” he continued.

The riots are merely the latest example of major social unrest in Colombia wreaked by the political left. Last November, mass protests were held across the country demanding a peace deal with the Marxist terror organization National Liberation Army (ELN), which has carried out multiple atrocities in recent years. ELN and other guerilla groups have recently been responsible for killing people failing to abide by lockdown measures as a way of imposing their control over local populations.

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