Colombian mass demonstration “reflects a deep national crisis” | World Bank Protest News

Colombian mass demonstration “reflects a deep national crisis” | World Bank Protest News


The protesters took to the streets for the fourth week, demanding that the government take action on poverty, police violence and other issues.

In Colombia, anti-government demonstrations have continued until the fourth week. Student groups, unions and other organizations took to the streets again on Wednesday, demanding that the government continue negotiations with the strike leaders to demand social change.

The mayor’s office said that about 8,000 people participated in the protests in the capital Bogotá.

68-year-old lawyer Roberto Hermida told Reuters: “Even though we have been fighting for so long, we still accompany young people, children, grandchildren, but they still lack opportunities.”

Ermida said he wanted to provide more educational opportunities and better health care.

protest activity begin Last month, after the government of the right-wing Colombian President Ivan Duque implemented a tax reform, critics said it would severely harm the working and middle classes that have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. .

Duque withdrew the proposal, but the demonstrations continued and the protesters expanded The list of their demands includes the cancellation of the proposed health care reform, ending widespread violence in the country, and steps to address economic inequality.

Demonstrators participated in a protest in Bogotá on May 19, demanding that the government take action to address poverty, police violence and inequality in the healthcare and education systems [Luisa Gonzalez/Reuters]

The protest was characterized by violence, but the exact death toll is still unclear. The Attorney General’s Office has confirmed that 15 people have died from protest-related deaths, while a human rights organization said the total number has exceeded 40.

Duque blamed most of the violence on armed groups, but United Nations Some human rights organizations condemned the Colombian police for “shooting” at the demonstrators.

On Wednesday, former president and Nobel Peace Prize winner Juan Manuel Santos urged Duque to take responsibility for police abuse.

Santos told W Radio: “We need more gestures, we need more empathy and humility, for the country to recognize:’Look, we committed abuse’.”

The National Strike Committee composed of major trade unions, student groups and other organizations has held several discussions with government representatives on the protesters’ demands, but the two sides have not yet held formal talks.

They are expected to meet with the government again on Thursday morning.

At the same time, Elizabeth Dickinson, a senior Colombian analyst at the International Crisis Group, said that the rally showed “severe social and economic inequality, a sense of frustration with police brutality, and general disagreement with the government. trust”.

Dickinson said on Twitter that the needs of protesters fall into two categories: social justice and security. Although both of these problems are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are historical dissatisfaction.

According to data from Johns Hopkins University, the pandemic has killed more than 82,000 people, but it has also exacerbated long-standing economic inequality.

“Protests are everywhere. The demonstrations reflect a deep national crisis that transcends geography. Although dissatisfaction differs in different regions, anger and frustration are shared.” Dickinson wrote.

She said: “The crisis is serious, far-reaching, and requires a compelling attraction that we haven’t seen yet.”

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