Incinerated buses are towed away, over 50 CAIs have been damaged and police ready themselves for more protests.
Colombian President Iván Duque has called for “calm and serenity” following violent protests last night that left at least seven Colombians dead in Bogotá.
This is the head of state’s message to the nation following a night of unrest and chaos on Wednesday as citizens across the capital protested the death of Javier Ordóñez, who died after being violently restrained and tased repeatedly by police officers — an incident caught on camera and quickly shared across social media.
After the city witnessed yet another incident of police violence, outrage erupted on streets throughout Bogotá. Amid clashes with law enforcement, people set fire to dozens of small police stations (known as CAIs) and set more than a dozen public city buses ablaze.
Today, in the aftermath, a number of CAIs are nothing more than burned-out shells, and many of the more than 130 TransMilenio buses that were vandalised remained in the streets. At least 14 were set alight, according to authorities, and five TransMilenio stations were also damaged.
In addition to the deaths, more than 175 people have been injured, both police and civilians, according to the Secretaria Distrital de Salud. The agency said 66 people were injured by firearms.
As night falls on Thursday — and as officials still work to clean the streets from last night’s wreckage — the city is already braced for more demonstrations and more violence.
Cacerolazos and candlelit vigils have already begun, and at least 15 demonstrations have been planned. Bogotá Mayor Claudia López stopped short of ordering a curfew, but she recommended people get to their homes before 7 pm.
Demonstrations against police violence and injustice are also taking place tonight in Cali, Medellín and Barranquilla.
While many are calling for only peaceful protests, so far these demonstrations have taken on a very different tone from the ones held daily for weeks late last year.
With the destruction from last night still evident all over Bogotá, we will soon find out if Thursday night’s protest will also turn tragic.
All photos: Jared Wade