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Mon May 10, 2021, 11:50 PM

A look at what has prompted thousands to protest across Colombia

By Astrid SuaRez And Regina Garcia Cano The Associated Press
Posted May 10, 2021 2:47 pm

. . .

What are people protesting?
The protests started on April 28 over proposed tax increases on public services, fuel, wages and pensions, but it has morphed into a general demand for the government to pay longstanding debts to the most vulnerable in society, such as Indigenous and Afro Latino people. Even though the administration withdrew the tax reform, protests have continued and grown as reports emerged of police violence, deaths and disappearances.

Activists see a link between the current protests and demonstrations in November 2019 over a host of issues: earlier tax increases, the murder of social leaders, official corruption, inequality and compliance with a peace agreement that led to the 2016 demobilization of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.

The discontent expressed in 2019 festered throughout the coronavirus pandemic as people saw their livelihoods disappear, their friends and family members die of COVID-19 and the government struggle to respond. Their anger has now spilled again onto the streets.

. . .

The military has sometimes joined police since Duque on May 1 signed off on armed forces’ involvement until “the acts of serious alteration of public order cease.” That allows mayors to request the army’s presence in urban areas _ a move questioned by human rights observers.


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