Independence Day Protests and New Tax Plan | free press

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A controversial tax reform is just one reason people are taking to the streets in Colombia. Violence, poverty and social inequality also create a smoldering conflict.

Bogotá (dpa) – After weeks of protests, the Colombian government has submitted a new tax reform project to parliament. “The social investment law that we are going to introduce is the result of a consensus,” Colombian President Iván Duque wrote on Twitter.

It lays the groundwork to reach the most vulnerable and provide employment and educational opportunities for young people.

Since a strike was declared in late April, there have been numerous protests in several cities in the South American country, which have also sparked riots. At least two dozen people have died in the protests so far, most of them as a result of police brutality. Also on Tuesday, Colombia’s Independence Day, thousands of Colombians took to the streets.

Initially, protests were directed not only against tax reform, which would have been at the expense of the middle and lower classes, but also against a health care reform, which conservative President Duque has since withdrawn. Most recently, union members, indigenous peoples and students demonstrated for fundamental reforms in the South American country.

Colombia suffers from violence, poverty and great social inequality. The unemployment rate reached 15.6 percent in May, with a total of 3.8 million people unemployed. Young people in particular have the feeling that they have no future.