Toquerolazo: Music for the people

By Jenna Abaakouk November 26, 2019

Toquerolazo de Queda: Local musicians add a new note to the protests.

Los Fumadores playing at the Toquerolazo.

A number of independent musicians performed on Sunday night in the main square of Calle 85. Local bands such as Los Viles, Aguas Ardientes, Montaña and Los Fumadores added their music to the drum beat of banging pots in an expression of unity and strength.

The bands used their music and songs to demand change and express solidarity with the protestors. And time and again the demand for change and rejection of violence came from the crowds.

Read all our coverage on Colombia’s national strike

Despite the cacerolazo making it difficult to hear the concert, thousand or so people in attendance seemed happy to be united behind a common cause, hitting their pots and pans and holding up their handmade signs. The Bogotá Post spoke to some of the crowd about the event and what the strike means to them, and here’s what they had to say.

Toquerolazo: Signs reading ‘You don’t deserve us. We’re love, not hate. We’re peace, not war. We’re us. Not Duque. Not Uribe.’ and ‘I had the good fortune of studying and working, that’s why today I’m standing up for those who have not been able to.’

“It was impressive to hear the cacerolazo because it having started from the city centre, I never imagined that it would reach my area, but it did, and it was exciting […] I love that everyone is protesting peacefully. Millions and millions of us Colombians are saying that we need a better quality of life, we need pensions, and we need education. We’re also out protesting against the violence that took place yesterday at the hands of the police, because we’re fed up of being attacked, fed up of being killed, and we’re saying “enough is enough.” We want to make a change. – Natalia

‘Four-day strike’ 

“[This protest] is a way for us to express ourselves to the government. We’ll see what happens after all of this but I think it has the potential to solve a lot of issues. […] The protest is very peaceful. Look around, everyone has been protesting in an artistic way: through music, through art, and very few have been violent. We don’t want violence to be a part of the protest. That’s not our aim. Our aim is to be listened to.” – Joan 

“Thursday was the biggest day in terms of the protests […] There were marches happening everywhere and I think that it was a historical moment for Colombia in terms of the magnitude of people who came together that day. […] This country has a lot of problems, all of which are important and need to be addressed: The corruption, the insecurity, the violence taking place in rural areas, the fact that 18 children were killed in a camp when their presence was known beforehand! […] I think that the President must be afraid right now, not because of violence but because of the magnitude of people that are demanding change, not just here but in all of Latin America. – Benjamin

“This protest is about dialogue; it’s not an attack. Because despite some of the chaos that’s taken place, there have also been so many recreational spaces, filled with dance, song, art. For example the cacelorazo, which has involved so many people and become contagious in many ways. It’s become a huge wave rippling through the city, and in other parts of the country, too.” – Luis

‘Duque has us like Britney Spears in 2007’

“It’s so cool that we’ve reached a fourth day of protests. There are a lot of problems here and we need a change. […] Everything that’s happening in Latin America seems to have also opened Colombia’s eyes. […] It’s great because before, protests weren’t as strong. Now, it’s so much better because people are more unified. […] I think this kind of event, with small independent bands, is a great way of protesting and it’s really beautiful, because it brings together all different kinds of culture and of course different kinds of people. musicians, graffiti artists. It’s cool, really cool.” – Natalia 

Toquerolazo: Hundreds of young people gathered in the square to participate in the protest with their pots and pans’

“There are a lot of concerns regarding this government, but one of my biggest concerns is that of animal rights, for example the recent increase in shark hunting quotas. It’s important for us to speak up for those who don’t have a voice. […] Events like this are fantastic, it’s through art and love is how we should express ourselves and show the world that we’re not the vandals that they try to portray us as. We’re all here dancing, singing, shouting, expressing ourselves in all kinds of different ways and look, there’s no violence, there’s no vandalism, we’re not doing anything, we’re all here in peace. It’s beautiful. – Juan