March 6th: International Day of Protest

Justice For Colombia News | on: Sunday, 24 February 2008

March 6th will see events held in Colombia and all over the world to remember the victims of state-sponsored violence in Colombia and to call for an end to the ongoing abuses. The worldwide protest has been called by the 'National Movement of Victims' and is backed by human rights groups, trade unions and the families of those who have had their rights violated. In London a vigil will be held outside Parliament called by groups representing the Colombian community in London, the trade union Unite, the International Centre for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR) and Justice for Colombia.

Please click here or on the image on the left for full details of the London event, which starts at 11am in Parliament Square.

As well as large events in all of Colombia's major cities, protests are being arranged in Washington DC, New York, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Stockholm, Berlin, Brussels, Toronto, Rome, Geneva, Buenos Aires and several Australian cities.

The CUT trade union federation, which has had over 2,500 members assassinated in recent years, have backed the day of protest as has the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), which represents 168 million workers in 155 countries. The ITUC "has called on all of the countries where its member unions are located to hold demonstrations outside of Colombian consulates and embassies" according to CUT President Carlos Rodriguez.

International figures such as Noam Chomsky have also backed the day. In a statement of support Mr Chomsky said, "For far too long, Colombians have suffered torture, displacement, disappearance, and general misery under the dark shadow of paramilitary and military terror, constantly taking new and more menacing forms. To our everlasting shame, citizens of the United States have unwittingly made a decisive contribution to these horrors for close to half a century. The vigil on March 6 is a courageous stand by the victims and their supporters, in Colombia and around the world, a passionate plea for this savagery to be brought to a final end. Please join them in any way you can, and help to bring to this wonderful country the justice and peace that its people richly deserve.

US-academic Howard Zinn also added his support saying "I am pleased to invite those who receive this message to support the march and vigils plan for March 6, 2008 in support of the victims of paramilitary violence and of abuses by the Colombian Army and Police. Paramilitary violence, often supported by agents of the Colombian state, has taken thousands of lives and left millions of rural Colombians displaced in recent years."

March 6th was chosen to coincide with the March 6th start, in the Colombian capital Bogota, of the fourth meeting of the National Movement of Victims (MOVICE) which will be attended by more that 1,500 delegates from all over Colombia. MOVICE, have also asked the Catholic Church and the Colombian business community to back the March 6th events.

Others backing MOVICE include indigenous organizations, the National Union of Students, human rights groups including the Permanent Committee for Human Rights and the Colombian peace movement grouped into the Permanent Assembly of Civil Society for Peace.

Reaction from the Colombian regime has been negative to date with the main adviser to the president, Jose Obdulio Gaviria, alleging that the protests and vigils arranged for March 6th are in fact organized by the FARC guerrilla group. Mr Obdulio backed up his assertion by explaining that he had seen a statement for support on a website that he claimed was pro-FARC.

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