Bogotá boosts police presence ahead of election Sunday

Policia Nacional

To guarantee a peaceful election day on Sunday, as Colombians head to the ballot to cast their votes for congressional representatives and presidential candidates from three coalitions, Bogotá’s Government Secretariat Felipe Jiménez announced that 8,900 police will be out on the streets to guarantee public safety and order.

“The district will provide all the necessary guarantees and logistics so that democracy wins this Sunday,” said Jiménez. In Bogotá, close to 6 million are eligible to vote, and the election will be presided over by 120,000 jurors as well as international and national electoral observers.

Law enforcement has been on alert in recent weeks for potential attacks by the country’s Marxist guerrilla National Liberation Army (ELN) and other criminal organizations against commercial establishments and local infrastructure. Mayor López called on the city’s nine million residents to report to the police any suspicious items or threats to the community.

“We have been very aware, for several months, that we had threats from different criminal and terrorist organizations, which in particular want to cause anxiety in this electoral contest in Bogotá,” assured López. The Mayor’s insistence that citizens to work with police comes after a low-intensity explosive detonated early Sunday outside a neighborhood police post in the southern locality of Ciudad Bolívar. “We have announced a reward up to COP$50 million (US$13,000) for anyone who sees anything suspicious,” she highlighted.

The rewards scheme comes as the official election season kicks-off and announcement by the district’s Security Secretariat Aníbal Fernández de Soto that homicides in Bogotá fell almost 13% during the first two months of 2022, as well as residential theft (39.9%) compared to the same period in 2021. “Our security strategy is giving results: increased police presence, strengthening of citizen participation, more and better technology, and specific plans by localities to dismantle criminal groups,” he affirmed.

A city-wide ban on the sale of alcohol goes into effect as of Saturday 6:00 pm until Monday 9:00 am.

The six presidential candidates not on the ballot, as they are running either as  independents or have been appointed as official candidates from their respective parties are Ingrid Betancourt (Oxygen Green); Rodolfo Hernández (Govenor’s Anticorruption League); Óscar Iván Zuluaga (Centro Democrático), Enrique Gómez (Salvación Nacional), Gilberto Murillo (Colombia Renaciente) and soon to register his bid, Germán Vargas Lleras (Cambio Radical).