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The Bogota protests that entered their fifth day on Monday has claimed its first life with the death of the 18-year old Dilan Cruz.
The student, enrolled in one of the district's schools, was participating Saturday, November 23, in a small demonstration in support of the national strike Paro Nacional when during a confrontation between the crowd and National Police's anti-riot squad – Esmad – was shot in the head with a projectile.
Attended to by first responders of the Colombian Red Cross and district's Security and Coexistence Secretariat, the seriously injured student was taken by ambulance to the San Ignacío Hospital of the Javeriana University where he was resucitated twice and operated on by surgeons. Dilan's medical condition remained critical until his death was pronounced at 10:05 pm by hospital staff on Monday.
The death of Dilan Cruz comes as Bogotá tries to return to come level of peace and tranquility after violent episodes during the first two days of the Paro Nacional, and that forced Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and government of President Iván Duque to enact a city-wide curfew from Friday night to Saturday morning. With 4,000 members of the Colombian Army and National Police enforcing the curfew, by midday Saturday, peaceful protests had resumed, with one close to the city's historic center La Candelaria, scene of violent clashes between Esmad and masked protestors on Thursday.
Hours after the Dilan shooting at the corner of Calle 19 with Carrera 4, Mayor Enrique Peñalosa and Bogotá Police Chief General Hoover Penilla held a press conference in which they extended their sympathies to Dilan's family, regretting also that the Paro Nacional has resulted in 130 civilians injured and 380 police officers serving in the line of duty.
Dilan Cruz became a symbol for Paro Nacional demonstrators, and while clinging to life in an ICU unit, received visits from government ministers, representatives of Colombia's security forces, journalists and Bogotá's mayor-elect Claudia López.
President Iván Duque and Mayor Enrique Peñalosa sent out condolence messages to the family of Dilan Cruz with news of his death. Colombia's head of the National Police, General Atehortua, released a statement via Twitter in which he writes: "As General Director of @PoliciaColombia, but especially as a father, I am deeply moved by the early departure of our young Dilan Cruz, who fought until the last minute for his life. My heartfelt condolences to his family and friends."