On May 25th, the Palace of Justice in the Colombian city of Tuluá was set on fire after a wave of violent riots.
Rechazo y condeno estos actos de terrorismo que buscan sembrar caos y miedo. Ataques como los de esta noche en Tuluá dejan de ser vandálicos y se convierten en actos terroristas. La protesta pacífica es legítima, la violencia es delito. pic.twitter.com/bMO59OULWQ
— Wilson Ruiz Orejuela (@WilsonRuizO) May 26, 2021
The images of the burning building were disseminated on social networks by the authorities, who condemned what happened in this city in the department of Valle del Cauca, 94 kilometers north of Cali.
According to reports and videos released by the Police, the flames they razed much of the roof and the second floor from the judicial institution of this city.
Additionally, there are rioters who target the members of the Police themselves, seeking to discredit the protests. In addition, they report that several judicial processes against agents of the security forces were in the Palace of Justice.
“Apparently these people accompanied by the Police would be involved with the burning of the Palace of Justice in Tuluá-Valle, they tell us that they saw them near the place where everything happened,” wrote on Twitter the official account of Movimiento Naranja Cali, a collective of activists belonging to alternative sectors of Colombian politics.
“Attacks like those of tonight in Tuluá are no longer vandalism and become terrorist acts. Peaceful protest is legitimate, violence is a crime,” said Colombian Justice Minister Wilson Ruiz on Twitter.
Defense Minister Diego Molano Aponte, for his part, considered that “the vandals want to obstruct justice with burns like the one tonight at the Palace of Justice in Tuluá.”
“Infamous that they celebrate it. Those responsible are going to know the weight of the Law,” he wrote on Twitter.
Ocurrió en una URI en Popayán, también en la casa de justicia en La Plata. Ahora pasa en Tuluá. Los vándalos quieren obstruir la justicia con quemas como la de esta noche del Palacio de Justicia en Tuluá. Infame que lo celebren. Los responsables van a conocer el peso de la Ley. pic.twitter.com/eP8vq5qTnU
— Diego Molano Aponte (@Diego_Molano) May 26, 2021
Colombian media reported that rioters were making it difficult for firefighters and authorities to pass to the area, describing the lack of control in the area and the fear of the residents.
Colombian social leader Juan Grabois claimed that on May 26th he was “detained” and “physically assaulted” and that he was not allowed to enter Colombia, where he had traveled in the framework of an international mission, given the social conflict that exists in that country.
The incident occurred within the wave of protests that began on April 28th in the country, and that by May 26th has left at least 43 people dead.
Cali and the Valle del Cauca region and neighboring Cauca are heavily affected by violence by armed groups and poverty and unemployment. They are also the epicenter of much of this social unrest that was evidenced in the demonstrations.
In addition, at least 129 people are still missing in the protests against president Ivan Duque.
The Duque government began a dialogue with the National Unemployment Committee, the main convenor of the demonstrations, as well as with different political, academic, religious and business sectors, and this week both parties assured that there was progress.