Colombians protest against police brutality

Demonstrators are escorted by riot police after being detained during clashes which erupted in a protest against police brutality in Bogota on September 21, 2020. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2020

Colombians protest against police brutality

  • Trade unionists and students led the rallies and marches, chanting slogans against police brutality
  • Demonstrators threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades

BOGOTA: Thousands of Colombians protested Monday against police brutality and government policies, 11 days after the death of a man at the hands of police sparked demonstrations.
Trade unionists and students led the rallies and marches, chanting slogans against police brutality, that culminated in clashes with police in the center of Bogota, the main protest hub.
Demonstrators threw stones at police officers, who responded with tear gas and stun grenades, according to an AFP reporter.
Police riot units intervened to contain “violent” actions in Bogota, as well as the northwestern city of Medellin and Pasto in the southwest, according to police chief Oscar Atehortua.
At least nine people were arrested for ransacking banks and public facilities, Atehortua said.
Police said that 5,600 people participated in 142 protests, but by the end of the day, attendance seemed slightly higher.
Bogota experienced several days of unrest after a 43-year-old engineer named Javier Ordonez died on September 9 after being assaulted by two police officers.
A viral video showed Ordonez lying on the ground, while police shocked him with a stun gun and beat him, which were the cause of his death, according to the prosecutor’s office.
After an 11-day break, students wearing masks took to the streets once more.
On Monday, a court ordered that the two officers, who have been charged with torture and aggravated homicide, be preventively detained.
During the protests that followed Ordonez’s death, security forces opened fire, killing 12 people. Investigations against several members of the force are ongoing.
Thousands were also injured, including many officers, and dozens of police stations were destroyed.
Monday’s protests took place against the backdrop of a recent wave of massacres related to the conflict between drug traffickers and authorities, as well as the economic crisis created by the coronavirus pandemic.
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Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

Updated 24 October 2020

Suicide bomber kills 18 in Afghan capital

  • There has been an upsurge in violence between Taliban and Afghan forces in the country
  • The US signed a peace deal with the Taliban in February, opening up a path toward withdrawing American troops from the conflict

KABUL: A suicide bomber struck near an education centre in the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing at least 18 people in the latest attack to rock the conflict-wracked country.
Violence on the ground has spiked in recent weeks despite the Taliban and the Afghan government holding peace talks in Qatar to end the country's grinding war.
The suicide attack, which also wounded 57, happened late afternoon at the centre, which offers training and courses for students in higher education in a western district of Kabul.
"A suicide bomber wanted to enter the education centre," Tareq Arian, spokesman for the interior ministry, said in a statement.
"But he was identified by the centre's guards after which he detonated his explosives in an alley."
He said the attack had left at least 18 people dead and 57 wounded.
"I was standing about 100 metres from the centre when a big blast knocked me down," said local resident Ali Reza, who had gone to hospital with his cousin who was wounded in the blast.
"Dust and smoke was all around me. All those killed and wounded were students who wanted to enter the centre."
Daesh claimed responsibility for the attack.
Residents in several districts of western Kabul belong to the minority Shiite Hazara community, often targeted by Daesh militants. 
In the past, extremists have targeted several education centres and other facilities in the area.
In May, a group of gunmen launched a brazen daylight attack on a hospital in west Kabul that left several mothers dead. The gunmen were shot dead after hours of fighting with security forces.