Indigenous peoples in Colombia toppled a statue of Spain’s conquistador Gonzalo Jimenez de Quesada, who founded the capital Bogota, on Friday as protests against the government continued.
Photos shared on social media showed members of the indigenous Misak community standing on the empty pedestal in central Bogota with the statue lying on the ground with a broken arm.
At least 26 people have died in clashes between protesters and security forces since protests against President Ivan Duque’s government began on April 28, originally against a now abandoned tax reform.
Indigenous peoples joined unions, students and other groups to demand changes in government policies on health, education and inequality.
Demonstrators from the Misak community – also known as Guambiano – from the south of the country, arrived at dawn at the statue, erected in 1960, waving their native flags.
“Historically, he was the greatest slaughterer, torturer, thief and rapist of our women and children,” the group said in a statement.
According to the statement, De Quesada’s “elitist descendant families” had “reproduced the country’s major problems” such as the recently abandoned tax reform.
Indigenous peoples in southwestern Colombia have slaughtered at least three statues to the conquistadors since September 2020.
They lead a historic dispute over land rights, but have often been the victims of the multi-faceted conflict in Colombia pitting left-wing guerrillas, drug traffickers, right-wing paramilitaries and the armed forces against each other.
© 2021 AFP