Colombia reaches third week of protests as violence escalates


(photo courtesy of Financial Times)

citizens take the streets in Colombia forming a protest

There have been at least 42 people dead, thousands of people have been injured and many are missing due to widespread protests and violence across the cities of Colombia for the third week straight.

 Protests broke out in Colombia because of pandemic-related tax policy. Protests escalated when police started using violence against protestors. Police responded with a heavy hand, fueling more anger which intensified the unrest.  

Colombia’s people are hurting and the government is short of cash. The pandemic has impacted the country’s economy in a negative way, along with lots of other countries as well. The country experienced a fiscal deficit that tripled from 2019 to 2020 which provoked fear for the country’s economy. 

An unpopular plan made by Colombia’s president, Ivan Duque which proposed a tax reform plan. The plan became highly unpopular as it increases the number of people including lower-income workers, who pay income taxes, and also eliminates tax benefits, and adds sales tax on items. 

Strikes and protests began on April 28 as a reaction to Duques’s plan to force the government to end the tax plan. Police responded back with brutality and violence against these innocent citizens of Colombia. The outcome was horrible, as many people were killed and injured on the street. Reports of people missing also roamed the streets despite the killings of innocent people. 

Since the protests, the president has recently withdrawn the plan. But the protests and violence between citizens and police still intensify. Groups such as Indigenous, Afro-Colombian, and middle-class citizens, have joined the demonstrations to vent their anger over the government and their lack of effort.