Three people were killed following Thursday protest marches across Colombia, the defense minister said, and widespread public transportation problems plagued cities on Friday amid calls for another protest, APA reports quoting Reuters.
More than 250,000 people marched on Thursday to express growing discontent with President Ivan Duque’s government, including over rumored economic reforms the president has denied and anger at what protesters say is a lack of government action to stop corruption and the murder of human rights activists.
Former leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro called for another demonstration on Friday afternoon, urging people to bang pots and pans in Bogota’s central square in a traditional expression of protest known as a “cacerolazo.” His call is not supported by at least one of the major unions that organized Thursday’s march.
The protest coincided with demonstrations in other Latin American countries, including anti-austerity marches in Chile, protests over vote-tampering allegations in Bolivia that led President Evo Morales to resign and inflamed tensions in crisis-hit Nicaragua.
Details surrounding the deaths in Valle del Cauca province were under investigation, Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo told journalists.
“In the last few hours authorities have confirmed the death of two people in Buenaventura in the midst of disturbances and one more in Candelaria, both municipalities of Valle,” he said, adding that a group of people had intended to loot the Viva Buenaventura mall.
“Because of this violent act, the security forces went to confront the event, while being subject to violent aggression with the throwing of rocks and sticks. As a result of the confrontation between vandals and security forces and in events that are the subject of investigation by the attorney general’s office, two people were killed,” he said.