Colombians take to streets to protest tax reform

Protests take place amid deadliest wave of coronavirus infections since beginning of pandemic.

Colombians take to streets to protest tax reform

Colombia is holding a massive national strike on Wednesday to protest against a tax reform proposed by the government.

Several cities have registered disturbances and acts of vandalism during the day.

The mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota announced the city’s mass transit system would close early after protesters clashed with members of the police.

People from the Misak indigenous group knocked down a statue of the Spanish conqueror Sebastian de Belalcazar in the city of Cali during the first hours of the national strike.

The city's mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina issued a curfew from 1 pm Wednesday for anyone in the city, after public buses were vandalized.

Despite the fact that a court in Bogota banned demonstrations the day before the national strike, unions, students and indigenous groups decided to go ahead with the mobilizations.

Colombia faces the worst moment of the coronavirus outbreak. It has registered more than 400 daily deaths since last week and intensive care units are on the brink of collapse.

Medical organizations urged people to stay home to avoid infections. Health care workers say they suffer from physical and mental exhaustion.

There are various complaints by the protesters amid the economic crisis caused by the pandemic, but their biggest claim is the government’s tax bill which, they say, will impoverish the middle class.

Virtually the whole of congress, including President Ivan Duque’s Democratic Center party, are opposed to the bill, which means it will likely sink.

The government was hoping to raise between more than 20 trillion pesos with the bill to address needs connected to the coronavirus pandemic.


Hüseyin Demir