Columbia: Army Sent in Cali to Deal with Month-long Protests

World | May 28, 2021, Friday // 23:57
Bulgaria: Columbia: Army Sent in Cali to Deal with Month-long Protests

Colombian President Ivan Duque announced Friday he was deploying military troops to the city of Cali, as international alarm grows over the policing of deadly anti-government protests across the country in recent weeks.

Friday marked a full month of nationwide protests, which began over a proposed tax increase but have since morphed into a broader anti-establishment mobilization.

Three people died during protests in Cali on Friday, authorities said, bringing the officially reported toll over weeks of unrest to 49, two of them police officers.

 After chairing a security meeting in the city, Duque announced "the maximum deployment of military assistance to the national police" would begin immediately.

The latest deaths occurred in clashes between "those blocking and those trying to get through" a barricade, Cali mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina said in a video posted to social media.

A representative from the Cali prosecutor's office said an off-duty investigator had shot at the crowd, killing a civilian, before being lynched by protesters.

On Thursday the Colombian Senate threw out a motion of censure against the defense minister, under whose remit the police falls.

For more than 50 years, Colombia's war against FARC guerrillas eclipsed all government priorities, with the state emerging from the conflict militarily strong, but weak on social redress.

Analysts have blamed its militarized background for the government's response to the protests.

The civil war also left the country with a massive income gap and Latin America's largest informal work sector, according to the World Bank.

In 2019, the year after Duque took power, students took to the streets demanding free and more accessible public education, better jobs and a supportive government./afp

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