Over a Hundred Detained During May Day March in Bogota
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 2 May 2008
The May Day march in the Colombian capital Bogota has ended in violence with 115 people being arbitrarily detained by the police according to a report from the Committee for Solidarity with political Prisoners (CSPP). Some of those detained were beaten in custody whilst many hundreds of other participants were attacked with teargas and hit by truncheons in seemingly random attacks by police officers.
Over 50,000 people participated in the march which left the Bogota National Park at 10am and moved along 7th Avenue towards the Plaza de Bolivar – the central square of Bogota. Trade unionists, young people and students, community activists and human rights groups were among the thousands marching. Their common call was for respect for workers rights and human rights.
After around half of the march had entered the Plaza de Bolivar, where speeches were to be made, the police moved into 7th Avenue in an effort to divide the march in two. The officers fired tear gas and indiscriminately attacked people with truncheons and batons according to the CSPP. At least 115 people were detained, including over 50 who were under the age of 18 – some of whom, say the CSPP, were not even taking part in the march but simply walking past.
The detained were taken to various police facilities including the 17th Police Station in the neighbourhood of 'La Candelaria' and the police post on the corner of 7th Avenue and 4th Street. Lawyers were denied access to the detainees and they were held incommunicado whilst, according to some of those who have since been released, police officers beat them with aluminium tubes and, according to others, used electricity on them.
At 10pm most of those who had been detained were released although as of writing some 36 people are still being held.