In 2006 Colombia's first Presidential re-elections took place. The popular right-wing president Alvaro Uribe initiated constitutional changes that allowed him to stand for a second term, despite human rights groups accusing him of being linked to paramilitary operations.
On May 28th Colombians living in the United Kingdom could cast their votes at their consulate. To coincide with this historic moment, Arias arranged for a group of four friends to stand outside the consulate holding placards with the silhouette of a crouching armed man and the word RE-ERRECCION emerging from his groin. An armband with the initials AUV identified him as the President. AUC are the initials of the country's paramilitary and most Colombians could make an association.
Arias invited voters to comment on the poster and recorded their responses. However, one of the Uribe supporters reported the group to the police, saying she was frightened of these people and that they supported armed groups in Colombia. Without asking who they were, the police officers swooped on the group and arrested one of them for causing public disorder.
The rest of the day was spent talking to the police, explaining who the artists were until the Chief Superintendent offered a formal apology, alongside the arresting officer. He concluded that the woman who had reported the group to the police had influenced the police officer to believe her views and that the police officer had failed in his duties by not asking the group any questions. Ignorance and fear lay at the heart of these events, issues that concern many Colombians living in their home country.
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