Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Protests to intensify this year, Colombia union leader says

(Reuters) – Protests against the social and economic policies of Colombian President Ivan Duque will restart with more intensity this year, a top union leader said.

Marchers in Colombia held mass demonstrations in November and December last year to demand a varied laundry list of concessions from Duque’s right-wing government.

Pots and pans ‘cacerolazo’ protests echo across Colombia

New protests will open on Tuesday with “cacerolazos” (pots and pans protests ), Central Union of Workers (CUT) chief Diogenes Orjuela told Reuters late on Thursday, referring to a traditional Latin American form of dissent.

- paying the bills -

“I think (the protests) will be stronger. When we say stronger, they are demonstrations and strikes far from any violent intent,” Orjuela said. “The first strong action – like the one on Nov. 21, it will be similar – will take place in March.”

Protests last year were largely peaceful, but were marked by looting and attacks against public transport during their first few days, leading Cali and Bogota to institute curfews.

Five people died in connection with the demonstrations, which followed upheaval in other Latin American countries such as Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.

The death of teenage protester Dilan Cruz, injured by a projectile fired by riot police, became a rallying cry for many marchers, who have demanded the force be dissolved. The squad is now banned from using the weapon that killed Cruz.

The National Strike Committee, comprising unions like the CUT and student groups, initially presented the government with 13 demands in talks – including stepped-up efforts to stop the murder of human rights activists and implement a peace deal with leftist rebels.

- paying the bills -

Protesters had asked the government scrap a tax reform proposal, especially a provision to cut taxes for corporations, but the bill was passed by Congress just before Christmas.

Demonstrators also opposed rumored increases to the pension age and cuts to the minimum wage for young people – policies Duque denies supporting.

The committee later increased its demands to 104 points, including opposition to fracking.

Most demands are things already agreed with students, indigenous communities and other groups, but not implemented, Orjuela said.

The committee has demanded one-on-one talks with the government, but Duque has insisted on wider participation by civil society, including business groups.

“What the strikes and marches have expressed is there is another opinion in Colombia,” Orjuela said. “It is very important for us that the government understand it must listen to that opinion.”

- paying the bills --

The committee and the government may meet in the coming days, he added.

Related Articles

Medellin: Dog steals food from the supermarket and even disinfects its paws when leaving

QCOLOMBIA - A security camera at a D1 supermarket in Medellin,...

The Challenging New Path For Tourism In Medellín & Antioquia

Finance Colombia - Of all the economic sectors in Antioquia &...

MOST READ

Let's Keep This Going!

To be updated with all the latest news and information about Colombia and Latin America.

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.