The Colombian president, Gustavo Petroordered the Police this Thursday to restore order in the vicinity of the Palace of Justice, in the center of Bogotawhere pro-government protesters prevent the departure of judges from the Supreme Court, dissatisfied because that court has not elected the new attorney general.
“Here the only one attacking Justice is the extreme right that fears a decent prosecutor. Therefore I order the National Police act on people who impede the free mobility of magistrates and present a public report on who they are dealing with“, Petro stated in his X account.
The incidents began after the Supreme Court of Justice reported that it was unable to elect this Thursday the new attorney general, who will replace the current incumbent, Francisco Barbosawho ends his term next Monday and has a bitter confrontation with Petro, who accuses him of orchestrating a “coup” to remove him from power.
The president of the Supreme Court, Gerson Chaverra Castrotold the press that after two rounds of voting none of the three candidates proposed by Petro reached the qualified majority of 16 votes to be appointed attorney general by that court, made up of 23 judges.
“I have to inform you and the country that we are meeting under normal conditions; We advanced the round of voting for the election of the new attorney general of the nation, we did two rounds of voting and the final result is that none of the candidates at the moment obtained the required votes“said the president of the Supreme Court.
After that statement, a group of pro-government protesters who were in the Bolivar plaza to protest against prosecutor Barbosa and demand that the Supreme Court elect her successor from a shortlist composed of female jurists Angela Maria Buitrago, Amelia Perez Parra and Luz Adriana Camargosurrounded the Palace of Justice, headquarters of the Supreme Court, to express their disagreement.
According to local media reports, the protesters, some with flags of Colombia and the extinct M-19 guerrilla, in which Petro participated in his youth, prevent the departure of the magistrates, which is why the president ordered the Police to restore order.
The mayor of Bogotá, Carlos Fernando Galanwhose office is located a few meters from the Palace of Justice, met with the Minister of Defense, Ivan Velasquezand stated that they will give priority to dialogue to resolve the situation, but did not rule out resorting to the police force if necessary.
“This is a job that we are going to coordinate with the Police, with the Government. We prefer to seek a solution through dialogue but the State never gives up, if it determines that it is necessary, obviously, to use the tools it has.”, he stated.
In recent days, Petro has encouraged popular mobilizations alleging that his Government is also a victim of a “constitutional break” orchestrated by Barbosa due to the investigations by the Prosecutor’s Office against people around him, including his first-born son, Nicolás Petro Burgosprocessed by illicit enrichment and money laundering.
The Palace of Justice of Colombia was the scene on November 6 and 7, 1985, of a guerrilla takeover of the M-19 who broke into the building and took nearly 300 people hostage, including the magistrates of the Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) and Council of State.
The Army retook the building with blood and fire on the second day, resulting in 94 dead, including 11 magistrates, dozens of wounded and 11 missing, mostly cafeteria employees and visitors.