The cacerolazo, a very Latin American form of protest which I believe originated in Argentina, is happening across Colombia, and this evening arrived in Bogotá's Plaza Bolívar. The cacerolazo simply consists of protesters using kitchen utensils to beat pots and pans. By doing so, it elegantly combines protest with emphasis on families' struggle to make ends meet. And that coincides nicely with Colombia's ongoing protests by campesinos who say that subsidized agricultural imports force them to sell their harvests at a loss.
Today's protest also featured the ruana, a poncho-like coat which is a symbol of the Colombian of modest means, even tho it's rarely used in the city. A common saying, that 'The law is only for those who wear ruanas,' means that the wealthy needn't obey the law. Unfortunately, that is too often true.
The protesters mobbed the steps of the Congress building, flooding over the line of riot police posted there, making them appear futile and irrelevent. They chanted 'Multinationals out of Colombia' and 'The people united will not be defeated.' But it wasn't clear how occupying the steps of Congress will change the situation in the countryside.
|Wearing the ruana.|
|Boyaca Department is present!|
|'When we protest we're delincuents, during elections we're citizens.'|
|'The campesino has potatoes, the government has balls.'|
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours