The United Nations has called on the Colombian Government to initiate an independent investigation into the deaths of demonstrators in the city of Cali.
According to local media, 13 people have died in demonstrations in the city in the southwest of the country since Friday. In the past month, Cali has been the epicenter of protests against President Duque‘s government’s tax plans.
Today, in the capital of Bogota, several thousand people demonstrated for an end to the violence and roadblocks by anti-government demonstrators. They also expressed their support for the security services.
The deposits have recently caused food and supplies shortages in different parts of the country. “The barriers hold the cities hostage,” said demonstrator Patricia Gonzalez to press agency Reuters.
Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, has called for a dialogue between the various stakeholders. Consultations between the government and opponents of the president started again today, after they were stuck last week.
“ I call for an end to all forms of violence, including vandalism,” said Bachelet. It also wants those involved in the violence to be held accountable. Seventeen ambassadors from EU countries have also spoken out against the wave of protest in Colombia, writes ANP news agency.
To stop the turmoil, President Duque sent more police forces to Cali on Saturday:
For more than four weeks, various groups of Colombians have been protesting against the government. This is sometimes accompanied by harsh clashes between protesters and police. According to human rights organisation Human Rights Watch, 63 people have died in different places in Colombia. The government speaks of 17 civilian deaths and two dead officers.
The demonstrations began after a call from one of the largest unions in the country. It was a response to government plans to reform the tax system, increasing taxes on citizens and businesses. The tax plan has been postponed, but protests have continued and now also focus on police violence, poverty and coronacrisis.