The Colombian government has deployed soldiers to cities across the country to help support police after protests against a controversial tax reform turned violent.
“We will not allow the destruction of public and private property, or the messages of hate in our country,” President Ivan Duque said while announcing that he would use a provision enshrined in the constitution allowing the military to help police keep public order.
Protests against the planned tax reform have been going on for days. In several cities, demonstrators have set fire to buses and looted stores. Several injuries as well as deaths have been reported.
The government’s foreseen reforms include a reduction in tax allowances, an increase in income taxes for certain groups and the abolishing of value-added-tax (VAT) exemptions for some goods and services. These changes are intended to offset budget deficits caused by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic devastation, it says.