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Unions, student groups, call for demonstrations to protests on December 13

Reports indicate that unions and student groups from public universities are calling supporters to demonstrate across major urban areas on December 13 to protest against prospected cuts in education and a fiscal reform. A nationwide 24-hour strike originally announced for the same date was reportedly cancelled. December 6 witnessed large demonstrations by the same organizers in Bogota and other major cities. The demonstration in Bogota saw a turnout of 3,000 and transpired without violent incidents, except for minor damages to property. Large student demonstrations in the capital city have also taken place on November 28, November 21, November 15, November 8, and October 8.

While full details for demonstrations on December 13 have not been announced, precedent suggests that students are likely to march in Bogota from Universidad Nacional and Universidad Pedagogica to Plaza Bolívar (Square), where they will meet union workers arriving from Parque Nacional. Significant travel disruptions will likely be witnessed. While the protests are purportedly intended to be peaceful, clashes between demonstrators and riot police have been recorded in previous demonstrations, suggesting heightened security presence will probably be seen in the vicinity of focal points for protests. Furthermore, police are likely to evict demonstrators blocking important intersections, potentially leading to scuffles with activists. In light of this, there remains potential for localized acts of vandalism and violence.

Those operating or residing in Colombia, and especially in Bogota on December 13 are advised to anticipate travel disruptions and exercise vigilance due to demonstrations and the potential for violence.

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