On March 31, hundreds of construction workers and street vendors took to the streets of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, in the midst of national quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to protest the lack of food and other essential services.
Protesters demanded that the district and national government fulfill their promise of providing financial aid to the country’s vulnerable population to survive the isolation period during the health emergency.
The majority of these workers are day laborers and have become unemployed because of the lockdown. They do not have enough money to feed their families and pay for their rent and other public services. As a result, they were forced to go out and ask for help, either with food or money. The measure of protest was called for by the construction workers’ union of Suba.
“We are asking for the support of the national government because they have forgotten enough about the construction workers’ union. So we are urging the national government to provide us with the help we need,” a spokesperson of the workers’ union told the CM& La Noticia.
The workers blocked roads at the Ciudad de Cali Avenue in the Suba locality of Bogotá. Although the protest was peaceful, the officials of Bogotá police and the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) arrived at the demonstration to disperse the crowd and clear the traffic.
— jonathan david (@jota_rock) March 31, 2020
The protesters said that they would not stop demanding their rights be guaranteed until the national government attends to their requests.
Far-right government of President Iván Duque decreed a national quarantine from March 24 to April 13 to contain the spread of novel coronavirus. However, the mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, on March 30 declared that an extension of the quarantine for at least three months would be possible if necessary.
According to the report presented by the Ministry of Health, as of March 31, Colombia has 906 confirmed cases of the COVID-19, of which 31 patients have recovered and 16 people have died.