Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities across Colombia on Wednesday (Jun 9) in fresh protests against President Ivan Duque. Dozens of people have been killed in protests that erupted around the country on April 28, initially against a tax hike that would have mostly affected the middle classes, but which has morphed into a major anti-government movement.
The protests Wednesday 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 around the country.
The demonstrators demanded an end to police repression and more supportive public policies to alleviate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has plunged more than 40 per cent of the country's 50 million inhabitants into poverty. "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 came to protest with her family in front of a hotel in central Bogota.
where a delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) 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.
The Jun 6 to Jun 10 visit by the IACHR comes after international criticism of police's violent repression of the anti-government protests.
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