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Photographer captures images from the front lines of a life-threatening protest in Colombia leaving one police officer in a coma

The Day of the Fallen Student commemorates students killed by the public force throughout history, but especially on these dates. In particular, it recalls the assassination of Gonzalo Bravo Pérez, a law student at the National University, that took place during a protest on June 7, 1929.

  • 8 months ago
  • June 20, 2023
3 min read
Members of clandestine groups gathered at National University in Bogota, Colombia in June igniting police clashes Members of clandestine groups gathered at National University in Bogota, Colombia in June igniting police clashes | Photo courtesy of David Borda
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Today’s Photo Gallery comes from David Borda of Colombia. It features photos from the June 8 clash in the capitol. Clandestine groups tousled with police, leaving officers injured and one in an induced coma. View more of Orato’s Photo Galleries from around the world.

On June 8, 2023, Colombia commemorated the Day of the Fallen Student. However, from early in the morning, clandestine groups including the Jaime Bateman Cayón Movement arrived and the conflict erupted.

The groups organized at the National University to exercise direct action as a form of protest. Police used gas, water, stun guns, and pellets to repel the demonstrators.

Demonstrators went on the offensive using stones, Molotov cocktails, and homemade bombs including “potato bombs.”

The clashes left at least two policemen injured. Doctors induced one of the officers into a coma due to the severity of his injuries.

The Day of the Fallen Student commemorates students killed by public forces throughout history, but especially on these dates. In particular, it recalls the assassination of Gonzalo Bravo Pérez. Gonzalo studied law at the National University. Authorities assassinated him during a protest on June 7, 1929.

Years later, On June 8, 1954, authorities assassinated Uriel Gutiérrez during a demonstration. That demonstration commemorated the 25-year anniversary of the death of Bravo Pérez. The following day, in a new protest against the murder of Uriel, assassinations took the lives of another ten students. Soldiers from the Colombia Battalion shot them with rifle bullets.

These historical events reinforced, for many demonstrators, the importance of remembering. Reigniting the student movement that year, and every year after, includes both violent and non-violent expressions. Those protesting say they are commemorating the fallen while fighting for a better country.

The residue of gases, Molotov cocktails, and potato bombs litter the streets as citizens clash with members of the police riot squad.

Hooded men from organized groups hurl objects and withstand the police response at National University.

All Photos courtesy of David Borda.

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