The time when Colombian students hugged and kissed the police 2 Favorite 


Mar 27 2011



During 2011, students around Colombia decided to create a National Student organization that would organize thousands of them to reject a harmful educational reform (Reforma a la ley 30). Before this year, student organizations were characterized by their segmentarity and old fashion yet violent ways to protest. They were divided in small groups with own agendas and were influenced by social and civic protests that fought the police back with "potato explosives", small impact crafted explosives.

In 2011 the leaders of the new created Student Organization MANE knew they had to create a new image and dynamics that would help them to approach citizens and share their messages in an innovative way. And they came up with a brilliant idea: instead of gaining media attention and losing collective legitimacy because of violent actions, they decided to use symbolism and turned their peacefulness into one of their strategies. Now that they were not breaking windows and doors, people started to listened to their proposals.

The space left behind by violent actions was filled out with theater, art, and love. First, they wore costumes and mask and used paint to color police's shields. Then, specially when they felt threaten by the police, they started to hug them and kiss them. The country was paralyzed with these images; we thought they were antonyms; we thought they were meant to fight forever.

This strategy gave them the opportunity to state the real battle was in another stage. Thanked to this creative movement,students achieved to ban the law and enter into the discussions of its decisions.

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