Dozens injured during violent protests in Colombia

Colombia deploys soldiers
© Chepa Beltran/LongVisual via ZUMA Wire/dpa

At least 46 people were injured in further violent clashes in Bogota and other cities in Colombia on Wednesday, after a seventh night of protest.

“We had a brutal escalation of violence. 30 civilians and 16 police were injured,” Bogota’s Mayor Claudia Lopez tweeted. The destruction meant fewer buses were running, she said.

There were renewed clashes between protesters and a special police unit, El Espectador newspaper reported. Some 25 police stations were attacked and some were set on fire, according to the report.

There was further violence and destruction in other major cities including Medellin and Cali.

So far, 24 people have died in the protests, according to El Tiempo newspaper, citing the national ombudsman’s office.

The protests began last Wednesday when thousands of Colombians took to the streets to oppose a controversial tax reform that has since been withdrawn.

Colombian President Ivan Duque condemned the violence, and expressed his condolences to all those who had died during the protests, in a video shared on Twitter on Wednesday.

The United Nations and European Union expressed concern at reports of excessive police violence, but Duque did not address this.

In its now withdrawn tax reform draft, the government had wanted to reduce tax allowances, increase income tax for certain groups and abolish value-added-tax (VAT) exemptions for a number of goods and services, to offset the deficits in the state budget caused by the pandemic.

However, protests continue with calls for further reforms.

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