|'No to Mining Exploitation in Colombia.'|
The march was controversial because of suggestions that it had been backed, and perhaps even organized, by the FARC guerrillas. The military reported finding messages in a captured guerrilla computer calling for such a protest rally on around this date - altho march organizers rejected any suggestion of guerrilla relations.
It's not unusual for far-left groups' demands to coincide with the guerrillas', and even for these groups to sympathize with the guerrillas, as a look at the graffiti on the National University's campus will show.
But, guerrilla connection or not, it's a good thing to let these marches happen. The participants are undoubtedly sincere, and many of their calls for social justice, environmental protections and minority rights are certainly justified. Prohibiting such a march would only give the guerrillas ammunition to the guerrillas' attacks on the government as 'fascist' and 'oppresive' - even tho criticizing the FARC in guerrilla-controlled territory would be very dangerous to your health.
|Police's top priority: Save McDonald's!|
faces, so I've covered up some features. But I believe that their fears are exaggerated. It is true that social activism can be dangerous in Colombia. However, I doubt anybody would suffer reprisals just for participating in a mass march. And, if someone with bad intent did want to identify protesters, it'd be easy enough to film them unseen with a high-powered camera from inside a neighboring building.
Like most leftist demonstrations here, this one included a real grab-bag of organizations: unions, indigenous groups, communists and anti-globalization/anti-capitalism activists.
|Che Guevara's a must in any leftist event.|
|The protest march was big, but peaceful.|
|Does this man's colorful headware contain a political message?|
|Police motorcycles lined up for action.|
|Afterwards, a packed and soggy Ave. Septima.|
|After the march, indigenous women walk down Seventh Ave.|
|Cleaning up afterwards in the National Park, the march's staging area.|
|A local government building on Seventh Ave., still covered with paint ball marks from last year's student protests.|
|Here's how Che Guevara looked today, Monday, on the National University's central plaza.|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours