Colombian President Ivan Duque ordered the deployment of armed forces on the streets of Cali, the country’s third largest city, on Friday.the epicenter of a month of anti-government demonstrations and violent incidents.
The head of state made the announcement in Cali, a city of 2.2 million people, where he chaired a wide-ranging meeting with government officials in charge of security.
Among the three people who lost their lives earlier yesterday was a prosecutor conducting an investigation and is believed to have been lynched by protesters during incidents.
At least three people were killed in protests in Cali on Friday, authorities said, as a month had passed since the Colombian uprising.
Local media also reported a fourth dead, something that has not yet been officially confirmed.
«Three people are unfortunately dead“, Said the mayor of Cali, Jorge Ivan Ospina, noting that clashes broke out between protesters who had blocked the road and citizens” who wanted to cross “.
With three new deaths, the death toll from last month’s incidents has risen to at least 49 dead, including 2 police officers, based on the announcements of the authorities. Another 2,000 people have been injured and 123 are missing.
A new call for protests across the country was made yesterday, Friday, a day marking a month since the start of the mobilizations, on April 28, initially against the tax reform bill – which was abandoned very quickly – by which the government of the right-wing president Ivan Duke sought to increase VAT and expand the tax base. Former Finance Minister Alberto Carraschia has resigned.
The unprecedented social uprising in Colombia has paralyzed almost every urban center in the country. Roadblocks have been set up on deficient roads and a desperate portion of the population.
Videos circulating on social media sites show a man lying in a pool of blood and a gunman being lynched by protesters at a roadblock.
«A quarrel led to this crazy state of death and pain. We can not allow such things to continue to happen in Cali. “We can not succumb to the temptation of violence and death,” Ospina said.
The head of the American diplomacy, Anthony Blinken, expressed his “concern” on Friday and “his condolences for the loss of human livesIn Colombia, noting that it is “citizens’ inalienable right to demonstrate peacefullyAfter a meeting with Martha Lucia Ramirez, the Colombian vice president and now his new counterpart, who is visiting Washington.
On Tuesday, two people were killed in the southwestern part of the country in clashes with law enforcement forces. On Wednesday night, in the southern part of the capital, the ninth episodes broke out and 25 civilians and four policemen were injured.
Talks between the government and the National Strike Committee have reached a stalemate, although both sides have said they have reached a “preliminary agreement”. The organizers of the mobilizations accused the government the day before yesterday, Thursday, that it seems that it wants to take back its commitments and is hindering.
The government, for its part, said it was not signing the pre-agreement because some of the organizers of the demonstrations did not condemn the roadblocks, calling the issue non-negotiable and announcing that the talks would be resumed tomorrow Sunday.
The Treasury Department estimates that protests and roadblocks have cost the Colombian economy about $ 2.7 billion, caused shortages of food and other items, raised prices, caused problems in the country’s main port and hundreds of companies. .
“We have already reached ‘the pre-agreement and’ all that is missing is the president ‘s signature to start negotiations,” said Francisco Maltes, president of the CUT trade union confederation.
Following the withdrawal of the draft law on tax reform, the participants in the mobilizations put forward other demands: to have a guaranteed minimum income, to create opportunities for young people, to end police violence, to have a better education, to strengthen the health system …
“Until the government hears us, we must stay on the streets,” said Alejandro Franco, a 23-year-old student, during a demonstration in Bogota.