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Lucas Villa, Colombian student and activist. File image.
Lucas Villa was a Colombian student and activist. Photo: File image.

The death of Lucas Villa, an icon of peaceful protest in Colombia

The San Jorge University Hospital in Pereira confirmed the death of Lucas Villa, another young man killed while peacefully protesting.

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Lucas Villa was peacefully protesting in the streets of Pereira when he was shot from a car by armed civilians.

Between dances and chants, the young man waved to the police and asked the demonstrators to keep the peace within the protests. None of this was enough. While staging a peaceful sit-in on the night of May 4, he was shot eight times, which would eventually end his life.

According to Hospital manager Juan Carlos Restrepo, after receiving specialized care for several days in the intensive care unit, 37-year-old Lucas was unresponsive.

"From the Hospital Universitario San Jorge we regret to inform that, despite the specialized care provided during these days in our intensive care unit, the patient did not present any neurological response after suspending sedation and the neurological study is consistent with global cerebral ischemia, thus the patient is diagnosed with encephalic death," he said.

The President asked the Director of the National Police, General Jorge Luis Vargas, to find those responsible for what happened.

"Vargas, we have to find the culprits and bring them to justice. We do not tolerate these acts of violence and we reject them," wrote the President on his Twitter account.

General Vargas called on citizens to share with the authorities information that could clarify the case and offered a reward of 100 million pesos for information that would lead to finding those responsible for the attack on the young man.

"He was participating in a peacefull sit-in last night at the viaduct and without a word a private car approached and attacked my nephew and the people who were there," said Martha Viviana de las Salas, Lucas' aunt to Caracol Radio.

Villa was admitted to the hospital on May 5 after being shot eight times by unknown persons while he was peacefully demonstrating against the government of Iván Duque, in the Viaducto de Pereira. Although the center maintained a reserved prognosis due to the fact that Lucas presented an evolution during these days, last night they confirmed brain death. 

"The information we have is that Lucas Villa is the symbol of the public and peaceful demonstration in that area of the country. He always greeted the policemen, hugged them and gave them water. We are convinced that the clarification of this case will be very fast," said the General.  

Colombia has been in a state of struggle for almost two weeks. Police and military repression in the country continues to undermine young people. 

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