Anti-government protesters and police attacked each other during demonstrations across Colombia, marking the two-month riot that has caused more than 60 deaths.
Colombia has been affected by protests since April. The previous proposal to oppose the proposed tax increase evolved into a mass movement against the right-wing government of President Ivan Duque.
Demonstrators called for an end to police repression and more supportive public policies to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has plunged more than 40% of the country’s 50 million residents into poverty.
In Bogotá, the capital, dozens of people have drawn the silhouettes of civilians killed by the country’s army during the more than 50 years of conflict between the country and FARC guerrillas—despite the signing of a peace agreement in 2016, it has been violent in recent years The incident has made a comeback again.
Human Rights Watch accused law enforcement agencies of committing “serious abuses,” saying that the police were involved in at least 20 homicides. The United States, the European Union and the United Nations all condemned the abuse of power by the police.
The government claims that illegal groups involved in drug trafficking and the National Liberation Army (ELN)—the last recognized guerrilla in Colombia—have infiltrated the protest movement to create chaos.
A major group representing the protesters stated on June 16 that it would suspend demonstrations and promised to “continue our struggle in other occasions such as art and concerts.” More hardliners in the movement have pledged to continue.