HAVANA TIMES – Colombians took to the streets on Tuesday to protest economic reforms and killings of civil society leaders, in the first large rallies since nationwide demonstrations late last year, reported dpa news.
Protesters burned tires, turned over garbage containers and stoned riot police in northern Bogota, where at least three police officers and one demonstrator were injured in clashes, City TV and broadcaster RCN reported.
Roads were blocked and bus traffic suffered interruptions in some areas. Protests were also planned elsewhere in the country.
The demonstrators were demanding the cancellation of a tax reform approved late last year, which they see as being too favourable to big companies, and more protection for civil society leaders.
Hundreds of such leaders have been killed since the government signed a peace deal with the guerrilla group FARC in 2016, including nearly
20 this year, according to a figure quoted by Blu Radio.
The assassinations are often carried out by drug traffickers, paramilitary or guerrilla groups which have entered areas abandoned by FARC and are seeking control over territory.
The protests started with nationwide marches called by trade unions and civil society groups that brought an estimated 250,000 students, workers, indigenous people and others to the streets on November 21.
Smaller protests, including two other nationwide march days, were staged after that.
Demonstrators accused President Ivan Duque’s conservative government of trying to weaken the rights of retired people and young employees and demanded more funds for education.
The death of young demonstrator Dilan Cruz, who was hit by a shot fired by riot police, sparked nationwide outrage.