Municipal authorities in Bogota urged residents to remain in their homes on Thursday evening, September 10, after at least nine people were killed and dozens of others injured in the capital and the neighboring city of Soacha during violent protests against alleged police brutality. Although a curfew has not been introduced, Bogota's mayor Claudia Lopez urged residents to remain in their homes from 19:00 (local time) in an effort to ease tensions.
At least seven people are reported to have been killed in the capital, and two in Soacha, after violent protests broke out on Wednesday evening, September 9, although the circumstances behind the deaths were not immediately clear. Dozens of other protesters are believed to have been injured, with at least 60 being hospitalized with gunshot wounds, as well as 147 police officers. A number of public service vehicles and police stations have also been set alight.
The unrest, which began on Wednesday in the Villa Luz area of the Engativa district, quickly spread across the city, with continuing clashes reported in some areas as of Thursday evening. Additional security forces, including 1,600 police officers and 300 military personnel, are expected to be deployed in the capital on Friday in an attempt to stem the violence.
A heightened security presence and overland transport disruptions are expected throughout Bogota on Friday, and further protests are likely in the coming days.
The Bogota protests follow the death of law student Javier Ordonez, who is reported to have died after being tasered and forcibly subdued by police officers whilst being arrested for allegedly violating coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions. Although the Bogota Metropolitan Police Department has expressed regrets over the death and suspended two of the officers involved pending an investigation, video footage showing officers forcibly subduing Ordonez has been widely shared on social media in the country and drawn significant condemnation.
Those in Bogota are advised to closely monitor developments, avoid all protests and large public gatherings as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
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