Around 80 homeless are occupying a church in downtown Bogota, storming the building after the conclusion of Mass yesterday. As a condition of leaving they are demanding police officials reverse a decision to drive expel them from an abandoned area of the Colombian capital.
Father Dario Echeverry, member of the National Conciliation Committee, said the homeless “occupied the church in order to convert it into a place to make known their problems, which have not been resolved.”
Dozens of policies officers who ordered the homeless to leave an abandoned area of Bogota known as El Cartucho provoked the invasion of the church, said Father Echeverry, adding that the homeless “demand the expulsion be stopped, that dialogue be initiated and that they be offered some type of resolution. There are some pregnant women and elderly among them and everybody is very hungry.”
A commission from the Mayor’s office has been working with Father Echeverry in order to seek a peaceful resolution.
The homeless, most of whom pick through public trash canisters and are drug pushers and had been living in abandoned buildings in the area known as El Cartucho, entered the church and locked the doors, with dozens of worshipers still inside.