Protests against Duque's government continue in Colombia

Tens of thousands of people protest this Saturday in Colombia for the fourth consecutive day to demand the withdrawal of a tax reform that punishes Colombians amid multiple complaints about abuses by the public force committed during the demonstrations.

The announcement made the day before by President Iván Duque that he will reformulate the project, withdrawing the most controversial proposals, did not calm the demands of the protesters.

«It is not enough just to withdraw the reform. (It was) the cherry on the cake, but all the handling that was given to the pandemic and everything that has happened with this government simply exploded in our faces (...) we are against all the policies of this government, "he said. to AFP María Teresa Flores, a 27-year-old philosopher in Bogotá.

Unions, students, indigenous people and the opposition once again took to the streets of the main cities on International Workers' Day, to the rhythm of cacerolazos.

"It is incredible that in this crisis that we are experiencing, this violence that the country is going through," a government decides "to carry out a tax reform (which) ends up further impoverishing the people," lamented Julián Naranjo, environmental administrator, near the central Plaza de Bolívar in Bogotá.

In addition to the capital, the demonstrations were strongly felt in Cali (southwest) and Medellín (northwest), as well as in Barranquilla, Cartagena (north) and intermediate cities.

Along with the protests, riots broke out in the center and southwest of the country.

In response, the government decided to militarize the city of Cali (southwest), capital of 2,2 million inhabitants of Valle de Cauca, with the arrival of some 3.000 soldiers and police.

Oenegés and the opposition have multiplied complaints about serious human rights violations committed by the security forces in the protests and riots.

At the moment, the Defense Ministry has only recognized one death and is silent on the number of civilians injured. The official balance shows 209 wounded police officers, a deceased uniformed officer and 203 arrests made.

But the Prosecutor's Office stated in a journalist chat that it was investigating six homicides that occurred during the protests to verify "whether or not they have to do with social unrest."

And the Ombudsman, autonomous, warned about 179 injured civilians and two deaths in Neiva (center) and Bogotá.

In a request for "urgent action" filed in Congress, 19 opposition parliamentarians reported that four of the fatalities could have been caused by "the actions of the police."

 

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