Colombia closes borders amid political unrest

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 22 November 2019

Colombia closed its land and sea borders on Wednesday for those wanting to enter the country from Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, ahead of a national strike to protest against the current government on Thursday.

According to immigration authorities, the borders were due to open again on Friday at 6am local time (1pm in South Africa).

The UK Foreign Office issued the following travel advisory, warning people that airports may be shut at short notice:

A national strike has been called for Thursday 21 November. In the city of Cali there will be a curfew in force from 7pm on 21 November until 6am on 22 November, following violent demonstrations in the context of the national strike. Further measures may be announced in Cali and/or other cities. Throughout the rest of the country, there continue to be large-scale demonstrations causing significant disruption. Airports may close and major highways may be blocked at short notice. These public demonstrations can be confrontational and turn violent. You should remain vigilant, avoid all demonstrations and monitor local media for the latest information.

The country’s president, Ivan Duque said that the government ‘recognized peaceful protest as an expression of democracy’ According to CNN, additional measures taken by the government included permission for local authorities ‘to impose exceptional measures such as curfews, restrictions on freedom of movement and bans on the sale of alcoholic beverages.’

Duque defended the measures saying, ‘We will guarantee public order and we will defend, with all of the tools our constitution gives us, the right of Colombians to live in peace.’

According to The Guardian, ‘the marches were mostly peaceful, although clashes broke out near Bogotá airport between protesters and riot police.’
Image: @operacionsandunga/ Instagram

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