Protesters in Colombia attack Congress | Free press

Colombians have been demonstrating against tax reform for days, now they have more ambitious goals. Time and again violence overshadows the protests, so far several people have died.

Bogotá (dpa) – During the protests in Colombia, clashes broke out again between protesters and the police, especially in the capital Bogotá.

On Wednesday, the “Citytv” channel and a video from the newspaper “El Espectador” showed a group of protesters knocking down the bars in front of the National Capitol and throwing stones at the security forces, which are the seat of Congress in the central Plaza de Bolívar. to protect. The special police unit then used rubber bullets and tear gas. It was not clear whether the protesters wanted to break into or damage the Capitol.

Until clashes with police, demonstrations in various parts of the city were largely peaceful. The Bogotá Symphony Orchestra gave a concert in memory of those who died in the protests. The newspaper “El Tiempo” reported, citing the national ombudsman, that 24 people were now killed during the protest days. The Colombian human rights organization “Indepaz” counted 31 dead, 1,220 injured and 87 disappeared on Tuesday. Thousands of Colombians started protesting a controversial tax reform last Wednesday that has since been withdrawn.

The demonstrations – including a new general strike on Wednesday – continue despite the resignation of Minister of Economy Alberto Carrasquilla. They now contain more far-reaching political and social goals, such as opposition to an also planned health reform and support for the fragile peace process. But the protests have also been repeatedly overshadowed by violence, with Cali particularly badly hit on Monday. The Inter-American human rights organization on Wednesday condemned the excessive use of force by the security forces there.

At least 46 people, 30 civilians and 16 police officers were injured in Bogotá on Wednesday evening. There were clashes between a special police unit and protesters. In addition, 25 police stations were attacked and partially set on fire. Violence, destruction and chaos were also reported from other major cities in Colombia such as Medellín and Cali on the night of the seventh day of the protest. President Iván Duque, a hardliner, spoke of “vandalism” and “urban terrorism” attributed to the “drug trafficking mafia”.

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