Ombudsman Carlos Camargo said three civilians died in the city of Cali, a civilian in Bogota, a civilian in Neiva and a police officer in Soacha, citing figures from the attorney general’s office. Three other deaths are under investigation, Camargo said.
At least 179 civilians and 216 police officers have been injured since the protests began, he added.
“The crude violence of the last three days, which does not stop, is an attack on the right to protest, and therefore the authorities have an obligation not only to fight against vandalism, but to accompany and guarantee a demonstration peaceful, ”Camargo said.
The mayor of the city of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, addressed President Ivan Duque in a moving video on Friday.
“Mr President, tax reform is dead. We don’t want it to cause more deaths. Please withdraw it, I ask you on behalf of the people of Cali,” Ospina said.
“I want to invite everyone in Cali to think specifically about the importance and value of life,” Ospina said.
Defense Minister Diego Molano, who visited Cali to monitor the situation, told a press conference on Saturday that “according to intelligence information, the criminal and terrorist acts committed in Cali correspond to criminal and terrorist organizations “and that the authorities endeavor to determine who are those who support” all these nefarious acts which have affected Cali “.
At least 4,000 soldiers and police were mobilized in the city on Friday and are ready for Saturday’s protests, Molano said.
After the first clashes on Wednesday, President Ivan Duque announced that he was amending his tax proposal, which will no longer include a sales tax on food, utilities and gasoline, and remove the increase in the income tax.
Duque’s original proposal included increasing taxes on individuals and businesses, as well as eliminating several exemptions. He said the tax reform was aimed at reducing the country’s deficit, reviving the economy and helping social programs.
Duque came to power in August 2018 and faced a nationwide strike backed by a broad coalition of social movements in November 2019. The protests were linked to widespread discontent over rising unemployment, economic reforms and the deterioration of the economy. the security situation.
CNNE’s Marlon Sorto and Ana Cucalón contributed reporting.