Unions and other groups launched marches on Wednesday asking President Ivan Duque’s government to withdraw the proposal
Thousands of Colombians took to the streets on Saturday for International Workers’ Day marches and protests against a government tax reform proposal, in a fourth day of protests that left at least six people dead.
Unions and other groups launched marches on Wednesday calling on President Ivan Duque’s government to withdraw the proposal, which originally leveled the sales tax on utilities and some food products.
Cali, the third largest city in the country, has seen the noisiest marches, some looting and the burning of several city buses.
The death tolls were inconsistent. National Human Rights Ombudsman Carlos Camargo said three protesters died in Cali and three others were under investigation.
One death has each occurred in Bogota and the town of Neiva, Camargo said. A policeman in the town of Soacha died of his injuries on Wednesday. 179 other civilians and 216 police officers were injured in the country.
Human rights organization Human Rights Watch said it received reports of possible police violence in Cali, and local human rights groups have alleged up to 14 deaths.
Cities at high risk of violence will continue to receive military assistance, along with human rights guarantees, Duque said in a Saturday night video.
Isolated acts of vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and roadblocks occurred in several towns on Saturday and riot police were deployed in the capital.
Saturday’s protests took place despite an announcement by Duque on Friday night that the reform would no longer include the sales tax on food or utilities or an increase in income tax.
The government insists that reform is vital to stabilize Colombia’s finances, maintain its credit rating and fund social programs.