People take part in a protest against police brutality, in Medellin, Colombia.
Thousands of Colombians protested on Monday against police brutality and government policies, 11 days after the death of a man at the hands of police sparked demonstrations.
Trade unionists and students led the rallies and marches, chanting slogans against police brutality that culminated in clashes with police in the center of Bogota, the main protest hub.
Demonstrators threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, according to an AFP reporter.
Police riot units intervened to contain “violent” actions in Bogota, as well as the northwestern city of Medellin and Pasto in the southwest, according to police chief Oscar Atehortua.
At least nine people were arrested for ransacking banks and public facilities, Atehortua said.
Police said that 5,600 people participated in 142 protests, but by the end of the day, attendance seemed slightly higher.
Bogota experienced several days of unrest after a 43-year-old engineer named Javier Ordonez died on Sept.9 after being assaulted by two police officers.
A viral video showed Ordonez lying on the ground, while police shocked him with a stun gun and beat him, which were the cause of his death, according to the prosecutor’s office.
After an 11-day break, students wearing masks took to the streets once more.
On Monday, a court ordered that the two officers, who have been charged with torture and aggravated homicide, be preventively detained.
During the protests that followed Ordonez’s death, security forces opened fire, killing 12 people. Investigations against several members of the force are ongoing.
Thousands were also injured, including many officers, and dozens of police stations were destroyed.
Monday’s protests took place against the backdrop of a recent wave of massacres related to the conflict between drug traffickers and authorities, as well as the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
Demonstrators gathered in major cities under the slogan "defending the peace" to denounce the deaths. 462 campaigners have been killed since 2016, according to the country's ombudsman.
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Under-fire Colombian President Ivan Duque will meet with protest leaders on Tuesday, a minister announced, after five consecutive days of anti-government protests.
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