DC Streets Blocked To Protest Colombian Union Murders

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)

Labor and human rights activists shut down traffic in front of the White House yesterday to protest the murders of Colombian trade unionists. The noontime action was timed to coincide with President Obama’s first meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. Dressed completely in black, their faces painted a ghostly white to represent murdered union leaders, the activists locked their arms into PVC pipes and laid down in a human chain across the intersection of 16th and H streets, while over a hundred chanting supporters surrounded them and helped block traffic. “I took a bus from New York this morning,” Colombian native Amy Velez told Union City, “My heart is bleeding to see my country with over four million displaced people.” Afro-Colombian activist Marino Cordoba was forced to leave his homeland seven years ago, after his community was bombed and his neighbors killed. “We were fighting for the right of Afro-Colombians to own their own land. Uribe’s government kills most Afro-Colombians who received their own land titles.” Curious tourists mingled with activists and their supporters for well over an hour as the demonstration continued to block the street. Eventually, police carefully cut the pipes and chains from the demonstrators arms and released them into the surrounding crowd, which triumphantly chanted “We are with the resisters, they’re our brothers they’re our sisters!” - Julia Shindel; photos by Adam Wright


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