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Five civilians and one police officer die in Colombia protests

Ombudsman Carlos Camargo mentioned three civilians died within the metropolis of Cali, one civilian in Bogota, one civilian in Neiva and one police officer in Soacha, citing figures from the Attorney General’s Office. Three extra deaths are being investigated, Camargo mentioned.

At least 179 civilians and 216 cops have been injured for the reason that begin of the protests, he added.

“The crude violence of the last three days, which doesn’t stop, is an attack against the right to protest, and therefore authorities have the obligation not only to combat vandalism, but to accompany and guarantee a peaceful protest,” Camargo mentioned.

The mayor of town of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, addressed President Ivan Duque in an emotional video on Friday.

“Mr. President, the tax reform is dead. We don’t want it to cause more deaths. Please, withdraw it, I am asking you for this on behalf of the people of Cali,” mentioned Ospina.

“I want to invite the whole Cali public to specifically reflect on the importance and value of life,” Ospina mentioned.

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Defense Minister Diego Molano, who has been in Cali to observe the scenario, mentioned Saturday at a press convention that “according to intelligence information, criminal and terrorist acts in Cali correspond to criminal organizations and terrorists” and that authorities are working to find out who’re those that stand behind “all these nefarious acts that have affected Cali.”

At least 4,000 troopers and cops had been mobilized on Friday within the metropolis and are ready for the demonstrations on Saturday, Molano mentioned.

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After the preliminary clashes on Wednesday, President Ivan Duque introduced he’s amending his tax proposal, which is able to not embrace a gross sales tax on meals, utilities and gasoline, and can scrap the rise of the revenue tax.

Duque’s preliminary proposal included growing taxes on people and companies, in addition to eliminating a number of exemptions. He mentioned the tax reform was geared toward easing the nation’s deficit, reviving the economic system and serving to social applications.

Duque got here to energy in August 2018 and confronted a nationwide strike supported by a broad coalition of social actions in November 2019. Those protests had been linked to widespread discontent over rising unemployment, financial reforms and a deteriorating safety scenario.

CNNE’s Marlon Sorto and Ana Cucalón contributed reporting.

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