Colombian protest leaders suspend weekly protests | News of the protests

A spokesperson for the national strike committee said the fight for better social and economic policies will continue.

The leaders of mass protests against the government in Colombia announced their intention to suspend their weekly protests, but pledged to continue fighting for widespread social and economic reforms.

National strike committee spokesman Francisco Maltes said on Tuesday that the coordination group of labor unions, student organizations and others had decided to “temporarily” suspend the protests that took place on Wednesday.

“This does not mean that the protests will end in Colombia,” Maltes said. “Demonstration in Colombia will continue because the reasons behind it are still there.

Anti-government protests erupted across the South American nation in late April after the right-wing government President Ivan Duque introduced a now-withdrawn tax reform that critics say would disproportionately harm the middle and working classes.

Large rallies continued, with protesters expanding their list of demands to include health and education reforms, police reform and the provision of a guaranteed basic income to millions of people, among others. .

Violence has also escalated, especially in Cali, the country’s third largest city, which emerged as an epicenter of protest.

The exact number of deaths Linked to the protests remains disputed, but human rights groups say dozens of people have been killed by security forces.

Human Rights Watch said in a report last week that Colombian forces had committed “flagrant” abuses against “mostly peaceful protesters” during the weeks of mass protests and called on the government to “take urgent action” to protect human rights.

Protest leaders on Tuesday accused Duque’s government of undermining an effort to start negotiations after the talks were canceled earlier this month.

The government is committed to negotiating, he said in a statement, reiterating that roadblocks across the country do not constitute a peaceful protest.

Blockade Related to the protests have caused shortages of some commodities and price increases, and the finance ministry says the economic losses total more than $ 3 billion.

Meanwhile, Maltes said unions and professional associations will come together to draft bills to share with Congress when a new session opens on July 20. Another demonstration is also expected that day.

“We hope that Congress and lawmakers will not let Colombians down like President Ivan Duque did,” he said.

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