If the Colombian leader announced the withdrawal of the contested tax reform project, the protest does not weaken after four days of mobilization and clashes, which left several hundred injured and at least three dead.
On May 2, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced the withdrawal of the government’s controversial tax reform project, in the context of an anti-government mobilization that turned into a clash between demonstrators and the police. The announcement was not enough to end the protest as rallies continued in several cities across the country.
While the balance sheet was at that date at least three dead and nearly 400 wounded (demonstrators and law enforcement, according to data from the Ministry of Defense and the Defender of the People, independent), Ivan Duque made part of his desire to call on the army.
In a speech delivered on May 1 at the end of the day, the Colombian president offered “military assistance” in the streets in order to strengthen security in towns affected by urban violence.
As the daily reports El TiempoIvan Duque explained that this military assistance would be done in coordination with the local authorities while ensuring that human rights would be fully respected. “[Le déploiement des militaires] and their actions will continue to be carried out within the framework of absolute respect for international human rights standards and will be subject to the control of constitutional bodies, ”he said.
3,000 police and soldiers have been deployed in Cali, in the south-west of the country, according to the authorities. For her part, the mayor of Bogota Claudia Lopez rejected the offer of military assistance.
“My duty as president is to guarantee the right to peaceful demonstration but above all to guarantee the safety of our fellow citizens,” said the leader, adding that military assistance would come into force in urban centers where there is a risk. high for the integrity of citizens and where it is “necessary to use the full capacity of the state to protect the population”. The president added that this military assistance would remain in place until “acts of serious disturbance to public order cease.”
A reform accused of impoverishing the people
For several days, demonstrators have been calling for the withdrawal of the tax reform project presented by the government, which aims to collect approximately $ 6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 while the country is hit hard by the health crisis and its economic consequences. . As reported by France 24, the country’s GDP (gross domestic product) fell by 6.8% in 2020 and the opposition considers that this reform will weaken the middle class. If the demonstrators made the authorities back down on this specific project, Ivan Duque did not give up his desire to reform the tax sector.
“It’s incredible, we are in the middle of a crisis [et le gouvernement décide] to lead a tax reform [qui] further impoverishes the people, ”lamented an environmental official present at the demonstration in Bogota on May 2, quoted by AFP.
“It’s not just about withdrawing the reform, [c’est] the icing on the cake. All the management of the pandemic and everything that happened with this government blew up in our faces […] we are against all the policies of this government, ”also testified Maria Teresa Flores, a 27-year-old protester.