Dozens of soccer fans demonstrated this Tuesday in Bogotá in front of the headquarters of the Colombian federation so that the Cup
America, co-organized with Argentina as of June 13, is not carried out as the country faces serious challenges.
“The ball cannot hide politics, nor the scenes of violence that are unfolding at the moment,” Jordan Santiago, leader of the group of Yellow Fever supporters, told AFP. “Soccer fans are tired. We will unite with the people “to demand that” the Copa America not be held, “he added. Around him, fans from America, Millionaires and other teams from the country protested to the rhythm of the drums and dressed in the colors of their club or the national team.
For the second time in its history, Colombia will host this continental tournament, the first co-organized by two countries. But since April 28, anti-government demonstrations, harshly repressed by security forces, have rocked the country, leaving at least 42 dead, including a police officer, and more than 1,600 injured.
Bogotá, Medellín and Cali, among the cities where the matches will be played, have been the scene of violent riots. The Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana matches had to move to other parts of the country, including Paraguay.
Others were interrupted by tear gas fired by the police during clashes with protesters near stadiums, such as in Barranquilla (north), where the final of the Copa América will be played on July 10. “How are they going to organize a match under these conditions? (…) There is no guarantee, ”Jordan Santiago, a 25-year-old nurse, said on Tuesday.
For his part, Argentine President Alberto Fernández assured that his country was ready to organize the tournament alone, in the event of the withdrawal of Colombia. “We can organize the entire Copa América in Argentina, as long as everyone strictly respects the conditions of sanitary control and protocol,” he told a local radio station.
Argentina and Colombia, like all South American countries, are suffering a third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, on their way to crossing the threshold of 10 million deaths worldwide. Argentina registered its highest number of new cases (35,543) and deaths (745) in 24 hours on Tuesday. Colombia, for its part, has more than three million cases in total, including more than 82,000 deaths since March 2020.
On Thursday in Asunción, a virtual meeting of the board of directors of Conmebol, the governing body of South American football, will be dedicated to the Copa América.