Bogotá’s historic center La Candelaria was once again the focus of vandalism after hundreds of youngsters filled Plaza de Bolívar in a show of force, days after a large anti-government protest was held in the same square.
The protest in which many young women were participating as part of International Safe Abortion Day was accompanied by feminist and pro-abortion collectives. The protest turned violent when a group of women vandals attempted to set fire to the large wooden doors of Bogotá’s Primary Cathedral.
The Cathedral has been the target of other acts of vandalism, including last year during the prolonged National Strike (Paro Nacional), and more recently, in March, when a radical activist, alias “Simona,” gave a wretched “performance” at the start of a religious service, shouting insults from a megaphone and behind her black balaklava. The “performance” in the name of a shadowy group known as R.A.R stunned the majority elderly congregation.
The attempted torching of one of Bogotá’s most famous landmarks while vandals poured gasoline over fires lit near base of the Cathedral’s wooden doors, promoted the National Police to mobilize members of the anti-riot squad ESMAD. The protest, however, comes seven months after the county’s Constitutional Court legalized abortion on demand during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy (or six months), and ruling that guarantees safe access for Colombian women to one of the most liberal abortion laws in Latin America and Caribbean.
Mayor Claudia López sharply condemned the vandalism on social media, calling for “swift social and legal repercussion.” She went on to question why the Police did not respond to established district protocols when responding to acts of violence, as a cellphone video surfaced, allegedly filmed by a member of the police, in which women are defiantly committing a criminal offense. Brigadier General Carlos Triana, chief of the Metropolitan Police, responded to Mayor López, highlighting that “a swift response put the situation under control.”