The first regional meeting for Democracy and Freedoms was held on February 18-19 at the Radisson Hotel, organized by the Madrid Forum. Among the attendees were people from the Spanish political party VOX, the Democratic Center of Colombia, members of the opposition in Venezuela, and academics, journalists and political analysts from all over Latin America.
The attendees of the Madrid Forum were preparing for a debate on the elections in Colombia and Brazil, while outside the Radisson Hotel an attack with stones and rocks surprised them. A mob called by the Colombian left was waiting for them chanting “you will not pass” or “fascists out.”
“At about 10 a.m. hooded men arrived and attacked the hotel facilities,” says Colombian economist and professor Luis Guillermo Vélez, who was one of the attendees. “It was a very strong attack with rocks and stones, all the windows and glass of the hotel were smashed, but the police and the Colombian Police Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) managed to intervene quickly.”
The intensity of the protest in front of the hotel was such that Venezuelan journalist Maibort Petit was able to hear the chants from the conference room and went outside to record what was happening outside the hotel.
“We were in the conference, we went out through the hallway, I was with another friend, she was afraid to go out,” said Petit. And she added: “I went out, I recorded, and when I was recording one of the police officers told me to go back into the hotel because they were identifying the people.”
Petit took the opportunity to go to the second floor and take a shot of the rally, where several people could be seen, mostly dressed in black, carrying Antifa flags, and chanting. The mob that was in the hotel was accompanied by the community managers of the mayor’s office of Claudia Lopez, who are distinguished in the video for wearing red clothes, and who in theory are in charge of preventing confrontations in demonstrations.
“I went back out and recorded again and they were getting super violent and started throwing rocks. We got inside the hotel and we had to lock the door leading to the lobby.”
Since the Forum was known, Colombian leftist politicians called for an attack on the networks. Among them, the candidate for the House of Representatives of the extreme left coalition “Pacto Histórico,” Natalia Munevar, who in her social networks gave the location of the conference to the angry mob of hooligans. After the events occurred, the representative candidate deleted the tweet calling for the sit-in from her account.
To prevent an escalation of the actions of the group of demonstrators, the ESMAD had to intervene and stand between the hotel and the demonstration.
The Colombian police general, Jorge Eliecer Camacho, confirmed that two of the people who participated in the attack on the Radisson Hotel were captured for acts of vandalism. The captured subjects allegedly belong to the Primera Línea organization, a far left-wing structure that was a protagonist of the 2021 protests in Colombia.
Colombian police also confirmed that the leftist mob organized at a university in Bogota and went out to attack the hotel with blunt objects such as cobblestones and rocks. In the scuffle two members of the police were also injured and charges will be filed for the prosecution of those responsible.
The Spanish politician and representative of VOX in the European Parliament, Hermann Tertsch, accused the Colombian left of the attack and picking up one of the stones thrown by members of the front line said: “These are the arguments of the communist left.”
Despite the violence against the attendees of the regional meeting and the hotel staff, a judge released the two people captured by the police. However, they will continue to be linked to the process, so they are still not free from a future conviction by the Colombian justice system.