By Gabriela Read
The Frente Amplio de Lucha Popular (FALPO – Broad Front for Popular Struggle) is an organization that has taken part in popular protests in the Dominican Republic since it was founded in 1985. FALPO had been a radical movement that staged violent protests, but the demonstrations have changed in the past few years and they have opted for what they describe as national mobilizations of a civic, democratic, mass nature. Since its founding, the members of FALPO have been persecuted, repressed and assassinated by the police forces, says Gabriel Sánchez, national spokesman for the organization for the past three years, with 23 years of activism in FALPO. One of the most violent episodes, he says, occurred in June, 2012, during a protest over the death of an athlete at the hands of the police in the city of Salcedo, in the province of Hermanas Mirabal, 155 kilometers from Santo Domingo, the capital. According to Sánchez, the police opened fire on a crowd with the result of 22 injured and four killed, according to figures obtained by the press.
Gabriela Read, who works with Noticias Aliadas, spoke with Sánchez about the government’s persecution of those who protest.