During the mobilizations against tax reform by the government of Iván Duque in Colombia, which were registered in several cities in the country, 44 police officers were injured and 26 arrested for vandalism.
The director of the Colombian National Police, Jorge Luis Vargas, has elaborated that 19 of the injured officers belonged to the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad.
Of those detained, 19 people were arrested in Bogotá, three in Neiva and one in Manizales, Guajira, Cali and Pasto. On the other hand, eleven minors were arrested as part of the protests.
Vargas has indicated that the recorded acts of vandalism affected public and private assets. According to Caracol Radio, public transport in cities like Bogotá or Cali has also been damaged, bus windows broken and some set on fire. The bank headquarters were also attacked in Neiva or Cali.
In light of these incidents, Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano has decided to increase troops in Cali and deployed 850 police officers and 450 soldiers from the National Army, who will also stay overnight this Thursday.
“Despite the many differences, our public strength is always the guarantor here,” said Molano, who nevertheless demanded “respect and consideration”. “We cannot tolerate any interference with our soldiers and police officers,” he riveted.
Meanwhile, the President of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores (CUT), Francisco Maltés, has already stated that the union leadership has agreed to continue the mobilizations until the Colombian government withdraws the tax reform law from Congress.
“This Thursday (…) you will see several marches and mobilizations in the different cities of the country from different points, as happened this Wednesday,” said Maltese.
The union leader has confirmed that there will also be demonstrations on Saturday in cities where no prison sentence has been imposed but where the protest will take place via digital media. “But yes, the government (…) did not withdraw the tax reform proposal until May 19, we are returning to a national strike,” he warned.
Although the National Unemployment Committee – made up of trade unions, political leaders and left-wing movements – called the protest day “positive” with mobilizations in more than 500 Colombian communities, it has lamented the incidents of vandalism. in cities like Cali and “the large number of repressive public violence actions” to dissolve the concentrations.
The Colombian government and health professionals had asked to stop mobilizations due to the epidemic situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.