Why is Columbia facing Nationwide protest?

Democracy May 20, 2021

It’s been weeks since a huge anti-government protest began in Colombia. And the conflict between the demonstrators and the police is just getting more violent. There are students, teachers, workers, union members, and many more present in the rallies.

Why did this protest start?

At first, the demonstration started as a normal, unarmed strike against a tax amendment introduced by the government. Tax reform will result in higher taxes for the middle class, the workers, and the poor. The idea to increase tax was brought up because of the financial crisis faced by the country. But people were not happy with the idea because they were already facing many problems.

The situation got worse and the peaceful demonstration ended when they faced tear gas and other strict police actions. The protesters then started to march against the polarized government.

However, the government took back the tax law, but that did not put an end to the demonstration. Demonstrators are now demanding an increase in jobs, education, and many other needs. President Ivan Duque offered concessions of free tuition for the poor. The protesters are saying they do not believe the government as they have promised many times but failed to help. Ivan Duque has faced three nationwide protests since he became the president. Many have said that the current Colombian government has been the most disastrous government ever. There is a lack of leadership.

These protesters became violent in Cali. They removed the statue of Spanish Conquistador Sebastian de Belalcazar. Major roads and trade routes were also blocked by the demonstrators.

More than 50 people are said to be killed and many are still missing in this demonstration. The protestors also claimed that they were killed and that the women were raped by the police, but no action was taken.  Now the residents are facing food scarcity. Prices for foodstuffs and fuel are also on the rise.

Adverse effects of rallies.

Not just in the demonstration, but people are dying from the coronavirus because the situation is not so good there. More than 80,000 people have succumbed to COVID-19 so far in Colombia.

These gatherings and protests are spreading more covid infection. More than 90% of care units are already full. If this keeps going on, the health unit will collapse.

What do you think? Should this protest need to end, keeping the pandemic in mind?

This article has been written by Omer Khan for The Paradigm.
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