At least 70 arrested in last round of protests in Colombia | News of Protests


Demonstrations marked the end of a week-long pause in disorder for taxes, policing and poverty.

At least 70 people have been arrested in the last round of anti-government protests in Colombia, according to police.

Authorities announced Wednesday, a day after Colombians took to the streets again in demonstrations that began in April in opposition to the since the abandoned tax return. The protests have shifted to a broader movement against the right-wing administration of President Ivan Duque.

Tuesday’s demonstration against the government’s introduction in parliament of a new softer fiscal proposal marked the end of the week break in demonstrations, which provoked security crackdowns that observers say left at least 60 people dead.

The government puts the death toll at about a third of that and the UN has asked for an independent probe into the killings.

Authorities said 50 people – 24 civilians and 26 agents – were injured in the cities of Bogota, Medellin and Cali amid clashes between police and protesters.

While the government said the most recent demonstration was largely peaceful, officials have repeatedly accused armed groups of infiltrating the demonstrations.

Those arrested Tuesday had charges including blocking public roads, damage to property, throwing dangerous objects or substances and possession of firearms.

Police reform, poverty alleviation

Protesters also demanded an end to police crackdown and more public support policies to alleviate the economic effect of the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 40 percent of the country’s 50 million inhabitants now live in poverty.

On Wednesday, the government presented to lawmakers a bill to reform the police, which is accused of abuses against civilian protesters.

It offers better training for officers and sanctions for those who do not identify themselves when they are arrested, or who refuse to be filmed while performing their duties.

But he does not suggest removing the police from the control of the Ministry of National Defense, as demanded by the protesters.

Police officials said the police must be part of the army to fight violence, drug trafficking and smuggling.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, among other groups, condemned Colombia’s “disproportionate” and “lethal” response to the protests and also recommended separating police operations from the military.





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