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Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Graffiti artists at work in Bogota
Catalina Erazo

BOGOTA Bogotá"s new mayor, the technocratic Enrique Peñalosa, wants to remove some of the Colombian capital's abundant graffiti — those deemed to be "non-artistic." But the move is being perceived by some as a reversal of the socially oriented policies of his predecessor, leftist Gustavo Petro, who essentially considered all such street art socially valid.

Some have called Bogotá the continent's premier graffiti city, and even Petro regulated it to some extent, most recently banning it on public infrastructure such as pedestrian overpasses. Social networks recently lit up about reports that city agents were painting over graffiti on one of the city's main roads and popular graffiti canvasses — the downtown part of 26th Street, not far from hotels and tourist spots. But Daniel Mejía, a security official at city hall, said the sections were actually being prepared for new street art commissioned by the city's arts council, Idartes.

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Bogota mayor Enrique Peñalosa — Photo: Dodo

Peñalosa recently said that "some graffiti" created a threatening environment, and deputy Miguel Uribe Turbay agreed, saying that any graffiti damaging public property would be removed. "Graffiti done ... in an authorized zone is one thing," Turbay said, but "vandalism that ... destroys public infrastructure is quite another. We're going to act with that order in mind."

One graffiti artist, Antrax, is calling such declarations "absurd," while Petro himself reflects ponderously, "Who decides what art is? The state? A censor?"

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Geopolitics

Iran Confirms First Execution Of A Protester

Iranian authorities have begun prosecuting multiple demonstrators arrested at recent mass protests, accusing them of the gravest crimes that are punishable by the death penalty. Authorities said a man arrested at a Tehran protest in October was hanged Thursday.

Photo of men and women killed during protests in Iran laid out in Paris

Photographs of men and women killed during recent protests in Iran

Worldcrunch

Updated Dec. 8, 11:30 a.m CET

Iran's clerical regime, which has faced persistent anti-state protests since mid-September, is activating a tried-and-tested mechanism for terminating opposition: executions.

In recent days the judiciary has leveled the gravest charges in its juridical arsenal at dozens of detained protesters, namely "waging war on God" (muhariba) and "spreading corruption in the land" (afsad fi al-arz).

On Thursday, Iranian state media reported for the first time that the regime has executed a man arrested during the uprising. The man was accused of injuring a paramilitary officer at a protest in Tehran, and sentenced to death in late October for "waging war on God," reports Mizan Online, a state-run news agency. The hanging took place Thursday morning.

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