Protest night in Colombia: number of dead | free press


Armed clashes between protesters and security forces in Cali and other Colombian cities continue. There are dead again.

Cali (AP) – The death toll in Cali has risen to at least six after another night of protests in Colombia overshadowed by violence. That reports the Colombian newspaper ‘El Tiempo’ on Saturday. “RCN Radio” reported at least seven deaths in connection with the protests.

Colombian President Iván Duque on Friday evening tightened orders for security forces in the city of Cali and the department of Valle del Cauca, the epicenter of the protests.

“This deployment will nearly triple our capacity across the province in less than 24 hours,” said Duque, who had traveled to the city southwest of Bogotá. On Saturday evening, he extended the measure to seven other departments.

On Friday, four people were killed in armed clashes over street blocks, which have been adversely affecting residents’ mobility and the city’s supplies for days.

Since the end of April, there have been numerous protests and riots in several cities in the South American country. According to the national ombudsman, at least 44 people have died in the protests so far, many as a result of police brutality and most in Cali.

Initially, the protesters protested against a tax reform that has since been withdrawn. Opposition to a reform of the health care system – now also rejected – and the commitment to the unstable peace process were some of the new goals.

Colombia is currently recovering from more than 50 years of civil war that killed 220,000 people. In 2016, the Colombian government made peace with the Farc guerrillas. The economy was booming, tourism boomed – but peace is fragile, police brutality is a setback.

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