Demonstrators take part in a demonstration against President Ivan Duque's tax reform in Bogotá, Colombia, April 29, 2021.An anonymous photograph by Luisa Gonzalez. REUTERS GRANDEX
Colombia has deployed more police and army units to Cali, its third-largest city, in a bid to end disturbances and vandalism under protests against a controversial tax reform, said defense minister on Friday.
The Unions called strikes in Colombia's main cities on Wednesday to demand the administration of President Ivan Duque withdraw from the reform, which they first presented to Congress earlier this month as it tries to increase the tax credit income.
The most serious riots and vandalism took place on Wednesday and Thursday in Colombia's Valle del Cauca province, capital of Cali, among other incidents.
He died on Wednesday following confrontations between protesters and police; according to the local authorities, 55 civilians and more than 40 police officers were injured in the last two days.
We have discovered that the criminal events in Cali were premeditated, planned and supported by violent organizations.We are taking more men and women from the police and army to guarantee the defense and security of citizens, explained defense minister Diego Molano at a briefing for reporters.
An additional 2,500 security personnel will be deployed in Cali, he added.
Last fall from Looting and vandalism, the Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina estimated that losses amounted to around 80 billion pesos.
The national protests began despite a court order and pleas from the authorities to suspend marches due to fears of contagion while Colombia remains in a third wave of coronavirus infections that have stretched healthcare to breaking point.
The government has said it is willing to modify the tax reform bill via debates in the American Congress.A majority of politicians in addition to unions and business associations reject the proposal.