Thousands of people on Wednesday took to the streets in several cities across Colombia in fresh protests against Colombian President Ivan Duque.
Dozens of people have been killed in protests that erupted across the country on April 28, initially against a tax hike that would have mostly affected the middle classes, but which have morphed into a major movement against the government.
On Wednesday, the protests were peaceful and colorful during the day, but after nightfall deteriorated into clashes with police in the capital, Bogota, Medellin in the northwest and other cities.
The demonstrators demanded an end to police repression and more supportive public policies to alleviate the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We need opportunities and for education, health, to be a right and not a privilege,” said 15-year-old high-school student Sofia Perico, who protested with her family in front of a hotel in central Bogota where a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights was holding meetings to evaluate the social turmoil.
“We want a change in social policy, in economic policy ... the people simply cannot take it any longer,” said teacher Dernir Galvis, another demonstrator.
The crisis has seen almost daily demonstrations and roadblocks over the past six weeks, affecting in particular the southwest of the country, and violent clashes with the police.
In Bogota, a group of indigenous people tried to topple statues of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella on an avenue leading to El Dorado International Airport.
“We are here today to denounce these crimes against humanity that were committed more than 500 years ago, and which continue to be committed today. The ways of governing and repressing the people remain the same,” protester Edgar Velasco said.
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