Military deployed as 4 die in Colombia protests

Demonstrations began last month after government introduced tax reform said to harm working and middle classes.

Military deployed as 4 die in Colombia protests

Colombian President Ivan Duque late Friday deployed military troops to the western province of Valle del Cauca and its capital Cali, as four people died during demonstrations against a government tax reform.

The four died in unrest as thousands of people took to the streets in the cities of Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Bucaramanga, and the capital Bogota.

The protests began last month after Duque’s right-wing government introduced a tax reform said to harm the working and middle classes.

The demonstrations of unionists, student groups, and others in the capital's historic Bolivar Square, the center of the protests, were generally peaceful.

In Cali, however, clashes broke out between the protesters and the police. The demonstrators damaged banks, supermarkets, and public property.

"Given the alteration of public order in Cali and Valle del Cauca, as of tonight the maximum deployment of military assistance will begin to support the work of the police and unblocking of roads as a measure to protect citizens' rights," Duque said in his address to the public.

With this deployment, "we will protect the strategic assets" of the nation, he said and reiterated the call for dialogue.

Earlier, Valle del Cauca Governor Clara Luz Roldan declared a curfew in the province.

Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina said people cannot continue their lives under these conditions, and there is a need for dialogue.


Hüseyin Demir