02:42 GMT08 May 2021
Listen Live
    Latin America
    Get short URL
    by
    3100
    Subscribe

    Over 180 protestors have been arrested in Colombia as of Friday, as people take to streets to decry tax hikes on everyday goods by the government of President Ivan Duque.

    Over the last three days in Colombia, banks and government buildings have been attacked, dozens of people arrested, and at least 200 policemen injured during riots as protestors vent their anger over the government’s proposed tax reform. All this as the country battles a third wave of COVID infections.

    Five police officers have suffered burns after being hit by a Molotov cocktail during a Thursday night protest in the department of Nariño in the south of the country, with videos showing the chaos. 

    According to Reuters, one person died during Thursday's demonstration, while El Espectador reported – citing data from a human rights group – that at least 14 protesters have died during clashes with police over the last three days. 

    The worst riots reportedly took place in Cali city on Wednesday and Thursday night, with buildings vandalised and businesses looted, leading to some $21.5 million in damages and losses, according to Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina.

    Officials tried to discourage the marches, which began on Wednesday, by imposing curfews, while the police have used tear gas to break up crowds, but situation is now out of control in many cities across the country. 

    The Colombian economy has been heavily hit by the pandemic with a 6.8 percent economic decline recorded in 2020 and over 14 percent unemployment. The government has proposed plugging the deficit with $6 billion in tax increases by introducing VAT to some basic goods, including eggs. However, following angry demonstrations, Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Friday that the tax reform would be revised.

    Protesters march during a national strike against a government-proposed tax reform, in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, April 28, 2021
    © AP Photo / Fernando Vergara
    Protesters march during a national strike against a government-proposed tax reform, in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, April 28, 2021
    Tags:
    tax, Ivan Duque, Colombia
    Community standardsDiscussion