Protests in Columbia Turning Violent and Deadly

Hundreds of protests are occurring in Columbia due to President Ivan Duque’s plan to raise taxes. These once safe protests are now turning deadly because of Columbia’s government. Thousands of people have gone out to protest in the streets, which has caused the President to raise the taxes, but protests continue due to the media finding out about this and are still deadly.

Since May 5th, there have been 37 deaths in protests, according to a local NGO that monitors police violence. People are upset about the tax hike because it would target essential items and public services. The way law enforcement has responded to the protests has drawn in groups from all over the world. Law enforcement isn’t just using tear gas, but they’re using an arsenal of flash-bangs and water cannons. There have been protesters that got hurt, killed, and 89 people have been reported as missing.

Maria Jose Lopez, a student, said, “We just want the right to protest peacefully, to feel like we have a future, we are the majority, but they won’t listen to us.”

The protests quickly escalated to Columbian’s anger rising because of poverty, inequality, and unemployment. The city of Cali has got the worst of everything during the protests because of roads being blocked off because of protesters causing the food supplies not to come in.

Fausto Prieto said, “It’s a mix of everything,”

The Army Commander has been sent to Cali to coordinate the city’s security. It’s been said that many of the deaths that occurred were due to the police using excessive force. It has been reported that more than 800 people have been injured. Protesters started to target police stations in Bogota, the Columbian Capital. The government thinks that the protests were “systematic, premeditated and financed by criminal organizations,” Defence Minister Diego Molano said. They’re refusing to listen to what the Citizens have to say, and that’s why protests are occurring so they can have a voice in their own Country. Unlike President Duque, who said he was ready to have space to hear the citizens and try to construct solutions.

These big groups of protests aren’t the first deadly ones in Columbia. Just last September, seven people were killed during demonstrations started by the deadly tasering of a man by police forces. A young protester named Lucas villa was shot eight times and fought for his life in the intensive care unit just hours before he filmed dancing and advocated for peaceful protests. Columbians in the city of Pereira held a vigil for him.

The tax reform bill raises taxes more specifically on essential everyday things like water, electricity, menstrual products (pads, tampons), etc. Authorities have now detained more than 400 people, and the government started to deploy the military in bad-affected cities like Cali.

You can find many videos in the media of Law enforcement using excessive force against the protesters. The U.N. High Commissioner office denounced Columbia’s national police Tuesday since they opened fire on protesters in Cali, Columbia.

People must know what is occurring in Columbia right now as Wi-Fi there is getting shut off, so people won’t be able to post on social media what’s happening. As I scroll through my social media, I see posts of protesters getting killed and injured by the police when all they’re asking for is help.

 

Source contributing to this story:

Protests have spread across Colombia. Here’s why. (n.d.). Retrieved May 07, 2021, from https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/protests-have-spread-across-colombia-here-e2-80-99s-why/ar-BB1gsM6E?ocid=BingNewsSearch