Of Indymedia Colombia; translation: Kh. - 24.08.2003 11:32
Chronology of the 12th of august
There was a general strike on the 12th of august in Colombia, however this strike was only carried out in total in the petroleum industry, and there was also a mass demonstration of 100,000 persons in Bogotá, most of whom involved are employed in the agricultural sector.
Thereby acts of violence were committed by the police.
The protests are against the planned American free trade contract ALCA, that threatens the existence of the national economy.
Just in these days Bush's trade delegate Zoellick visted Bogotá in order to persuade the Colombian government to the conclusion of a bilateral trade contract.
Here is a chronological report of Indymedia Colombia about the events in Bogotá and different parts of the country.
pics of the demo 12th of august, Bogota
farmers from Boyacá; Foto: Felipe
To the pictures:
Picture 1 :" business Bavaria and Leona: if it you don't purchase any barley, we won't consume any more beer. The agriculture sector of Belén Boyacá is present. No to ALCA"
Pictures 10: "No to ALCA - active abstention from voting in the referendum? OCE Tolima"
Thousands on the demonstration of the farm workers - tears gas on the Plaza Bolívar?
Police attacked demonstrators in Pasto - total walkout in Barrancabermeja - blockade of the street Cartagena-Barranquilla - rally against Electrocaribe in Riohacha - 500,000 workers put down the work.
6:00 - the petroleum workers have put down their work in the entire country.
The atrerial road from Cartagena onto the coastal motorway to Barranquilla is blocked.
There are protests against the bad quality of the energy supply system.
The trade union association (Intersindical) of South Bogotá holds meetings, that feed in the course of the morning to road blockades in Bosa and Soacha.
12:00 - about a hundred thousand persons demonstrate in Bogotá. About ten thousands of farmers from the entire country, Tolima, Antioquia, Huila, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, Valle, Boyacá, Santander, Magdalena Medio and other regions of the country, protest on the 7th street in Bogotá, they form the colourfull demonstration, called for by the "national union to save the agriculture" (Asociación Nacional por la Salvación Agropecuaria? ANSA).
Additional participatants are. the Indigenous of Caldas and Fensuagro, the refugees, the CNI, that pensioner organizations, who are outraged about Uribe's plans against the elderly, hawkers, political route columns (Moir, that COMMUNIST PARTY of Colombia, Banderas Negras) and several workers trade unions, to which we also count Athoc, which had to accept in these days the assassination of its leaders; in addition the teachers from Tolima, USTC, Sinaltrainal, Asopersonerías,Sintradin, Sindesena, Uneb, the leadership of the trade unions CGTD and CUT, as well as the workers trade union (Unión Sindical Obrera). [Photo of Felipe for Indymedia: unit of the sugarcane farmers]
12:30 - the demonstration turns to the Plaza de Bolívar. In front of the the platform, the at the place arriving banners of the different communities can be distinguished such as Chaparral, Quinchía, Génova, La Plata ... [ entering the Plaza; photo: moir]
12:55 - the Robocops of Esmad are getting furious, because youth graffitied the restaurant of McDonalds with the slogan "Transnacionales ALCArajo?"* . The youths keep the Robocops in check Robocops with their flags.
13:10 - the Esmad-Robocops grap Marco Sosa, whom they threatened already on previous demonstrations, arrest the youth, and take him it to an armoured vehicle (? tanqueta) without a number plate. ** [see photo] Scuffles break out nearby. Marcos companions demand him back.
13:15 - the well known pretext: the acoustically impressing but otherwise useless "papas" (explosive bodies) were thrown, and now the police begins to attack the demonstrators, who turn into the place, that has already been filled for one half. They throw teargas and a few people run; but others feel attacked and scream against the Robocops of the Esmad on, who continue to throw tear gas granades. Many banners brake and the demonstrators, above all the youths, try to keep the policemen in check with the wooden sticks. A sea of gas fills the place. Twenty thousand persons run to the western side of the place, others resist and the hail of wooden sticks against gas clouds intensifies. Further arrests are made. [Photo: el Nuevo Día]
13:20 - several route columns stay further on patiently on the 7th street, without turning into the place. They see, that the gas clouds rise upwards , but they do not know exactly, what happens at the place. In the north, an armoured vehicle blocks them the way and in the south the units of Esmad. [A photo, that was given to Indymedia on the street: demonstrator is getting arrested at gunpoint]
13:45 - the route columns stream further to the middle of the place. Some of whom running away from the gas, return, especially the farmers who were anxious to lose sight of each other if they disperse. The majority of the farmers did not leave the place, others just enter it. The mobilization of the Salvación Agropecuaria (movement to save the agriculture) yielded an excellent balance; it reports that no one wants the American free trade zone in the countryside. On the part of the trade unions, the reaction is insufficient, with some few exceptions such as the petroleum workers who were in a complete strike. On the photo, given to Indymedia on the street: a boy of a farmer who got attacked by Esmad.
14:00 - one talk after the other is directed to the farmers, who continue to stream to the place.
The police did not succeed despite of the provocations to dissolve the demonstration, but they were able to prevent that the place got filled completely, which seemed to be unavoidably at around 12. An ambulance departs with the injured youths.
14:15 - photo of Felipe: the last route columns arrive at the place, . Further speeches are held.
The latest update informs that at least three youths were arrested by the Esmad-Robocops.
14:20 - in Cartagena, the street, which connects this city by the coasts motorway with Barranquilla, is further blocked. Stones got thrown at the police station, and in La Boquilla a policeman was held (?) by demonstrators. In Riohacha (coastal city in NO Colombia), stones were thrown by demonstrators against the business Electricaribe and slogans shouted against the Spanish transnational firm Unión Fenosa. In Nariño, the demonstrations restricted the public traffic, the hospitals only treat emergencies. In Huila, there are demonstrations and rallys; the protests disorganised the education plan. The chairperson of Asonaljudicial, Esperanza Delgado, announced, that only urgent cases and custodianships are dealt with.
16:00 - in Pasto, the police invaded forcefully the office of the teachers workers union whilst they smashed the entrance door of the institute of the social insurance in Sincelejo. Twenty demonstrators were arrested in Riohacha. In Bogotá, the farmers begin to return to their regions. Approximately 500,000 workers interrupted their activities in the course of the day according to a preliminary estimation of the Comando Nacional Unitario.
* Pun: ALCA (American free trade zone) with "Carajo" - something like: ALCA-Multis go to hell!
** Marco Sosa's was released after some hours of custody and interrogation, after he was able to invalidate the wrong accusations against him with the help of a collective of lawyers. (His own testimony v. 13/8? ) http://colombia.indymedia.org/news/2003/08/5152.php