Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Encapuchados Warm Up for May Day


Hooded rioters prepare to hurl Molotov cocktails at the police.
May Day's around the corner, but the encapuchados at the Universidad Nacional aren't waiting. Today, the 'hooded ones' turned out in force to throw rocks and Molotov cocktails at the riot police, who fired back with tear gas and water cannons.

The rioters are supposedly supporting small farmers, who are holding marches and blocking roads once again in protest against low prices for their harvests and the high cost of supplies. It's not clear how the rioting helps the farmers, but the youths evidently enjoy causing havoc. And, since the university campus is 'autonomous', the police can't invade it, making the protesters almost invulnerable.

Tear gas cannisters explode on a campus lawn.
Why do the police insist on surrounding and confronting these anarchists? All they're doing is giving the rioters what they want. If the police stayed away, the encapuchados would march around, get bored and go home.

While all this was going on, most of the students went on with their days, eating lunch and going to classes. What would happen if anarchists like these appeared on a U.S. or European campus?
An anti-riot tank arrives at the university.

A line of riot police on Carrera 30, beside the National University.

A Molotov cocktail bursts into flame near a riot police line by the university's 26th St. entrance.



Jammed traffic on Carrera 26 heading toward the university. Of course, such traffic jams are a daily occurrence, anyway.



By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

2 comments:

D Lee said...

“Why do the police insist on surrounding and confronting these anarchists? All they're doing is giving the rioters what they want. If the police stayed away, the encapuchados would march around, get bored and go home.”

The idea that if the police stay away, there won’t be any violence is pretty naive. Throughout the world, anarchists have made May Day an avowed day of mayhem. The police have undoubtedly infiltrated the anarchists and they know the anarchists’ intent and it’s not to have a Cumbia party. When anarchists prepare an arsenal of Molotov cocktails, it’s pretty naive to think that they won’t use it if there’s no police presence.

Several years ago, the police in my hometown decided to take a low profile on May Day. The anarchists were embolden and they did extensive property damage before the police were able to take control. By then many businesses and vehicles were damaged. The local chamber of commerce and the news media were very critical of the police and the mayor for not being prepared. Police officials were forced to retire and the mayor was ousted.

Miguel said...

You might be right, but we won't know until the police try it. What if they stayed on the other side of the avenue and only intervened if the capuchados started trashing things? There isn't much around there too trash, except for TransMilenio stations, and maybe stores a across the avenue.

Mike