Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Masked Manifestations?

'Anonymous' protesters on Plaza Bolivar. 'We are legion.' But their cause may be anonymous. 
I encountered these two groups of demonstrators, altho in neither case was their cause very apparent.

One of the Anonymous demonstrators, who were on Plaza Bolivar on Monday, surprised me by saying they were protesting bullfighting. But I thot that Anonymous was about internet freedom? Anyway, it's hard to get your message out with your faces masked and no signs.
An anonymous demonstrator gets a flower. 
Masked protesters on La Plaza del Che.
Would Camilo Torres approve?
More disturbing probably were these masked people yelling and tossing potato bombs on the Plaza del Che in the National University. One told me they had certain demands, concerning budgets, to make to the university administration. But will university administrators listen to people who hide their faces (and the rest of themselves) and toss loud, smoky explosives? I really doubt it. 

The demonstrator also asked me, sternly, not to take photos. 'But you're masked,' I replied, 'so nobody could recognize you, anyway.'
Smoke bombs, called papa bombas,
explode on the Plaza del Che.

'But the people watching us aren't masked, and they're also in danger,' he replied. 

But, in my low-res photos, I don't think anybody's recognizable. It is true that protesters do get threatened and even murdered in Colombia. Threats and violence are totally unjustifiable in a democratic system. But that goes for both sides, and it's arguable that displays like this one could generate violence in response. 

And who is intimidating whom? 

I was impressed by the way most of the students went on studying, eating, talking and walking across campus while this quasi-military spectacle went on on the main plaza. Of course, it wasn't really out of character for La Nacho, which is known for its far-left graffiti and often violent protest demonstrations - always leftist. Is the students' blasé attitude understandable considering the university's culture, or is it a disturbing apathy?

A man walks past a poster celebrating the FARC guerrillas on the National Univesity campus. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

1 comment:

mauricio forero l said...

So, it happened Mike, reason and common sense won.
I'm surrounded by Republicans, they all hate me, It happens that now I'm living in a very republican town and the color of my skin, my accent, and my t-shirt with Obama's face is not of their taste. The sad part Mike is that even among Latinos, including most of my family are against Barack, the levels of ignorance and prejudices is incredible. Any way, I like your post.

M. F.