Violence continues at some Colombia protests, capital calmer

by Reuters
Thursday, 6 May 2021 16:52 GMT

By Oliver Griffin

BOGOTA, May 6 (Reuters) - Protests in Colombia headed into their ninth day on Thursday as local authorities in the small city of Pereira offered a reward for information after three people were shot in connection with overnight demonstrations.

The protests were originally called in opposition to a now-canceled tax reform plan, but demonstrators have since broadened their demands to include government action to tackle poverty, police violence and inequality in the health and education systems.

Marches around the country have been marred by violence and 24 people have died, mostly demonstrators. International organizations have warned against excessive use of force by police.

"The national police roundly reject the acts which happened in Pereira near the viaduct, where three people were injured by firearms," city police commander Coronel Anibal Villamizar said in a video message late on Wednesday.

A reward of up to 50 million pesos (around $13,000) is being offered for information leading to the arrest of those responsible, Mayor Carlos Maya said in a message on Twitter.

Elsewhere, 12,000 people marched in Medellin on Wednesday, the mayor's office said in a statement.

Demonstrations were largely peaceful, with clashes between protesters and police later in the day in the city's Parque de los Deseos.

After a violent night in Bogota earlier in the week, things were more peaceful, Mayor Claudia Lopez said.

"We had a much calmer day," Lopez said in a statement, adding a further 23 civilians and six police had been hurt but injuries initially appear minor.

The national police or ESMAD anti-riot unit are listed by the human rights ombudsman as presumed responsible for 11 of the two dozen officially confirmed deaths.

Local advocacy group Temblores has reported 37 deaths in connection with demonstrations while Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it has so far confirmed 11 were connected to protests, out of 31 reported to it. (Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by David Gregorio)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.