Today yet another nationwide strike is taking place in Colombia, with the last one, on past Thursday, not even being a week back. Since then, Colombia has seen six days of intense struggles that followed the massive eruption of popular rebellion last week. Hundreds of thousands of people went to the streets all over then country that day and many kept fighting until today.

Video of El Comunero depciting some of clashes of the last six days

Dreaded by the reaction and heavily campaigned against by the government, the nationwide strike of the 21st of November saw a massive outpouring of popular participation. Denouncing the widespread corruption profiting the officials and representatives and protesting, among others, against the implementation of new economic measures against the people (such as the planned pension and labor-market reforms), the continuous killings of the indigenous population and political activits as well as the ongoing destruction and exploitation of the natural wealth of the country more then 250.000 people took to the streets that day in various many major cities of the country.

Cali

Medellin

Bogota

Bogota

 

From the beginning, the reaction attempted to sabotage the mobilization of the event, called for by various trade unions, democratic organizations and revolutionary forces:

Weeks before the National strike convened for November 21 by the major trade unions, the  government of Duque, fearfully observing how the great popular uprisings travel through Latin America, launched a campaign to oppose the demonstration. The government party said that this mobilization would be driven “by international anarchism and violent groups” and that it would be a plan for the “destabilization of the government”. However, when this did not intimidate the people, who continued to join the call for protest, the government chose the tactic of no longer stigmatizing the protest as such, but the type of protest. In unison with the church, the mass media and of course the opportunist parties (Farc, Human Colombia, Greens, Polo), it called to condemn “violence”.

- Report on the 1st National Strike by El Comunero

While calling to denounce any potential violence on the part of the protesters, the state firmly applied his apparatuses of repression to intimidate and hinder the protest beforehand: In the days before the demonstration, several raids (some of them illegally so) were carried out in houses and cultural centers of political activists, the army was send on patrol in the streets of Bogotá and a special decree was issued empowering mayors and governors to take “extraordinary measures to guarantee security and public order”, including curfew. State borders were closed.

Colombia National Strike Military Patrol

This however did not deter the people to participate in the demonstrations, of which the largest took place in Suba, Medellín, Santa Isabel, Cali and Bogotá (but not only there). In many cases, institution of the state were directly attacked and confrontations with the police, and particularly the notorious riot police ESMAD, ensued, which – in the days after the protest – shifted more and more away from the big public squares and streets to the proletarian neighborhoods. Particularly in Bogotá the situation intensified with more then 60 stations and 20 buses of the transport system being severely damaged. More then 200 police men, who often had to flee the rage of the people, were injured in the first 3 days of protests alone, when the mayor of Bogotá decreed a curfew.

On the other hand, the reaction by now have already killed four young people, the last one being 18 year old Dilan who succumbed to his injuries on Monday after being hit by a teargas canister to the head during a political demonstration Saturday. Two others were shot in the back by the infantry of the National Army, not for threatening them, but because they were supposedly carrying away looted goods.

Over the period of the struggles, the media attempts to label the young fighters – driven to the streets in huge numbers by the long ongoing mobilization of the students and by the planned cuts in the minimum wage for young people – to be nothing but apolitical vandals. Hence the same narrative of denouncing “violence” as before is being used, with the aim to split the protesters in “peaceful” and “violent”, while - in the meantime - the police and military is murdering protesters.

Police trashing glass windows in the night of the 21st of November to make it look like protesters did it