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A week ago today, May 28, 2021, Colombians marked one month of protest against a violent police force and a government accused of furthering economic and social inequities.

In the capital city of Bogotá people young and old took part in peaceful marches throughout the morning and afternoon. At night several thousand protesters gathered at Portal de las Americas, a mass transportation center and the site of recent standoffs between protesters and police. The demonstration remained without escalation until 10:30 PM when police used teargas and "less-lethal" projectiles to disperse protesters, pushing them into surrounding neighborhood streets. 

Triggered by a proposed tax reform, the nationwide demonstrations began on April 28, 2021 but have continued and escalated after the reform was rescinded just four days later on May 2, 2021. The ongoing protests are in response to police violence, widespread corruption and systemic social and economic inequality. 

Throughout the country police have responded to protests with teargas, less-lethal munitions and in some cases live ammunition. More than 42 people have been killed during the past month of anti-government demonstration and hundreds are reported missing, most presumed to be forcibly disappeared. 
"They are killing us" reads a young woman's shirt during a march throughout Bogotá on May 28, 2021. 

I traveled to Bogotá to learn about Colombia, to cover the ongoing unrest, to practice my Spanish (I am working towards fluency), and, just six weeks post-surgery, to test out my new hip.  

Though I came here on my own I've been made to feel welcome by new colleagues and friends. There is a camaraderie that has existed between journalists no matter where in the world I've found myself; it’s a bond forged through shared experiences and convictions and one that has made it possible for me to work safely in Colombia. 

I look forward to sharing more with you soon. 


Support independent journalism and my work on Patreon today!

— My gratitude to those who make this reporting possible —

Copyright 2021 © Maranie R. Staab, All rights reserved.
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