Colombia’s Attorney General and Ombudsman have agreed that 43 is official number of victims since the start of the national strike – Paro Nacional – on April 28. According to Fiscalía and Defensoria del Pueblo, of 43 confirmed deaths relating to the civil unrest, 17 are directly related to the demonstrations that have taken place across the country.
The official death toll of persons participating in protests has been ranked also by location: 8 in Cali, 3 in the department of Valle del Cauca, 3 in Cundinamarca, 1 in Tolima, 1 in Cauca and 1 in the nation’s capital Bogotá. The authorities also verified that seven other deaths are related to the protests, and in 19 additional homicides “there is evidence to establish that they are not linked to the demonstrations.”
The Attorney General also highlighted that the 290 persons reported as missing have been located, but another 129 people still remain unaccounted for. Only one charge of forced disappearance has been presented to the Fiscalía relating to protests on May 4 in the municipality of Zaragoza (Antioquia). The country’s top law enforcement entity also confirmed that 88 disciplinary investigations are underway, 78 of which filed against the National Police for excessive use of force, abuse of authority and alleged sexual abuse.
In a warning to mayors and governors, both entities reaffirmed the fundamental right of peaceful protest, but noted that blockades and obstruction of public roads “violate rights and produce irreparable damage to the population,” and for which they must respond under the criminal code. “We send a clear warning that all levels of public administration must act under the Constitution and therefore protect the rights of the entire nation,” reads a joint statement.