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Colombia: Students Gather in Bogotá's Bolívar Square

On November 10, students from public universities organized marches throughout all of the cities in the country and gathered in Bogotá's Bolívar Square, the country's principal administrative center. The event aimed to pressure the government to definitively repeal Law 30 for higher education reform.

It is worth highlighting that the reform has caused close to 22 of the country's public universities to remain on strike and that following the president's announcement to repeal it, the students returned to class but maintained the decision to march and continue the strike.

The blog Indígnate co [es], posted an explanation for the march:

El 10 de noviembre llegarán a Bogotá, provenientes de todo el país, estudiantes de diferentes universidades, que están marchando como una muestra de su posición contra esta propuesta de reforma a la ley 30.
Somos el pueblo que puede vigilar al gobierno!!!
People from all over the country and students from different universities who are marching to demonstrate their position against this Law 30 reform proposal will come to Bogotá on November 10. We are the people that can keep watch of the government!!!

They also expressed their opinion relating the student's demonstrations to events like the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street [es]:

Del análisis de los diversos movimientos que se han gestado en el último año (la primavera árabe, el movimiento M15 de los Indignados en España, el Ocupen Wall Street, etc) nos hemos dado cuenta que uno de los factores que facilita la difusión de los acontecimientos ocurridos durante las protestas y la  visibilización de las mismas ha sido la conectividad en los lugares de desarrollo de las mismas. En estos casos la conexión ha permitido transmisiones vía streaming de los sucesos en tiempo real, seguimiento vía Twitter y otras redes sociales, registro de las actividades en blogs, además de contribuir a generar la solidaridad de otros grupos y personas que se conectan a través de internet sin importar las distancias, los tiempos y los idiomas. Por estas razones, pensando en una forma de contribuir de forma efectiva al movimiento de estudiantes colombianos, hemos contactado a colectivos amigos y estamos buscando la manera de generar y ofrecer conectividad en la plaza de Bolivar para el 10 de Noviembre.

Upon analyzing the diverse movements that have been brewing over the course of the past year (the Arab Spring, the Indignants’ 15M in Spain, Occupy Wall Street, etc.) we have realized that one of the factors that facilitates reporting on the events that take place during the protests and their visibility has been internet connection at their locations. In these cases, connectivity has allowed for the events to be streamed and broadcast in real time, followed on Twitter and other social networks, and a registry of activities on blogs in addition to contributing to generating solidarity with other people and groups that connect via the Internet, regardless of distance, time, or language. For these reasons, thinking of an effective way to contribute to the Colombian students’ movement, we have contacted friends and are looking for a way to generate and offer connectivity at Bolivar Square for November 10.

On Twitter, opinions were posted throughout the day under the following hashtags: #TomaBogota, #ParoBogota, #PlazaBolivar, #Quevivanlosestudiantes, and #Ley30.

A sign in Bolívar Square. Photo by Artessano on Flickr under the CC by 2.0 license.

A sign in Bolívar Square. Photo by Artessano on Flickr under the CC by 2.0 license.

Among the reactions posted primarily in the morning, Nathalie Plata (@Naticap2) reiterates that which the students are doing, arguing that education is the State's duty:

Porque la educación es un deber del Estado y un derecho del ciudadano #noley30

Because education is the State's responsibility and the citizen's right #nolaw30

Edmundo Árias (@MundoMind) expressed his skepticism towards this day:

No creo que ni la mitad de la gente que se “#tomabogota” entienda por qué ni para qué lo hace, un pretexto para no ir a clase y parchar

I don't even think that half of the people that are “#occupyingbogota” understand why they are doing it, a pretext for not going to class and having nothing to do

Carlos García (@carloscuentero) pointed out that the college students would be joined by educators and high school students:

Docentes y estudiantes de secundaria también apoyarán la #TomaBogotá en defensa de la educación en Colombia

Educators and high school student will also support #OccupyBogota in defense of education in Colombia

Jario García (@MRsoad) invited others to march:

Yo me voy a marchar y tu (?) No te quedes en casa esta es la lucha de todos #QueVivanLosEstudiantes #ParoNacional #TomaBogotá @indignateco

Students put their posters on the metal structure of the 'Holiday tree' that is placed in Bolivar Square every year.  Photo on Flickr by Artessano under the CC by 2.0 license.

Students put their posters on the metal structure of the 'Holiday tree' that is placed in Bolivar Square every year. Photo on Flickr by Artessano under the CC by 2.0 license.

I'm going to march, what about you (?) Don't stay home, this is everyone's fight #QueVivanLosEstudiantes #ParoNacional #TomaBogotá @indignateco

As the morning progressed, Wiki Communication (@wikiperiodismo) informed everyone that:

Miles de estudiantes caminan en protesta pacífica #Ley30 por la Av Primero de Mayo hacia la Plaza de Bolívar – en Bogotá.

Thousands of students marched in a peaceful protest against #Law30 throughout Primero de Mayo Avenue towards Bolívar Square – in Bogotá.

Edison Burbano (@elpayanes) wrote:

La Revolucion en Colombia no sera transmitida en la tv!! #QueVivanLosEstudiantes

The Revolution in Colombia will not be broadcasted on TV!! #LongLiveTheStudents

Geral Dine (@Parazitilla) tweeted the following:

Los héroes en Colombia si existen! Nos llamamos estudiantes.

Heroes do exist in Colombia! We're called students.

AnonymousIRC (@anonymousIRC) keeps up the relationship with the public:

Meanwhile in #Colombia: Students 1 – Government 0 bit.ly/tMVTlC

A live registry of the events was captured by @IndignateCo through LiveStream.

On the other hand, an extremely emotional video of the day [es] was posted on the Facebook Group “Help Fede (Santos’ nephew) study and get a job.” Razón Pública (@RazonPublica) shared it via Twitter and said:

‘Capuchos’ y policías se abrazan durante la marcha de hoy en Medellín. La gente al final dice “Sí se puede, sí se…

‘Capuchos’ and the police are hugging each other during today's march in Medellín. People are finally saying “Yes we can, yes we …”

And finally, Telesur [es] posted the students’ reactions following the event. For those who marched, the day was a success:

Los estudiantes colombianos calificaron como un éxito “La toma de Bogotá”, actividad realizada este jueves con la participación de 150 mil personas de la comunidad universitaria y diversos sectores de la sociedad civil en la capital del país.

En declaraciones a teleSUR, el líder del movimiento estudiantil, Adrián Carrión, aseguró que la movilización tiene el objetivo claro de decirle al Gobierno que los estudiantes “no trabajamos condicionados”, por lo que levantarán el paro sólo cuando haya sido retirado oficialmente el protecto de reforma a la Ley 30 de Educación de la Cámara de Representantes colombiana.

Colombian students deemed the “Occupation of Bogotá,” an activity that took place this Thursday with 150,000 people participating from the college community as well as other diverse sectors of civil society in the country's capital, a success.

In commentary for teleSUR, the leader of the student movement, Adrián Carrión, assured viewers that the mobilization has a clear objective of telling the government that students “do not work conditionally,” and will lift the strike only when the Colombian House of Representative's protectorate for the Law 30 reform has been repealed.

Initially, the students were going to remain camped out in Bolívar Square, but in the end they came to an agreement with the government [es] and will camp out in a university.

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