Colombia’s president, Ivan Duque, ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital Friday night as unrest continues following a massive march Thursday that brought an estimated 250,000 people into the streets.
The protests in Bogota are centered on discontent with Duque’s conservative government, rumors of economic reforms, and what protesters say is a lack of government action to stop corruption and the murder of human rights activists.
In a televised speech Friday evening, Duque said he would “launch a national conversation” to “strengthen the current social policy agenda” and “close social gaps.”
Duque said the dialogue will include all social sectors and take place in cities around the country starting next week.
While the protests on Thursday started out peaceful, they ended with scattered clashes between protesters and police. On Friday, protesters clashed with police in several parts of the city.
Bogata Mayor Enrique Penalosa had earlier announced a curfew for three neighborhoods, but extended the measure later Friday evening to the entire city of 7 million on request of the president.
Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said that, as of Friday morning, 98 people had been detained and 151 police and military officers had been injured, along with 122 civilians with minor injuries and tear gas inhalation.
Three deaths reported
Three people were reported killed in neighboring Valle del Cauca province in what authorities called incidents of looting overnight on Thursday into Friday.
The defense minister said two people were killed in the port city of Buenaventura after police were attacked while responding to looting at a mall. A third person died in Candelaria after police said a group looting a supermarket shot at officers
The protests in Colombia coincide with social unrest in other Latin American countries, including the ongoing anti-austerity demonstrations in Chile, and protests over vote-tampering allegations in Bolivia that led to the resignation of President Evo Morales.
wmr/aw (Reuters, AP, AFP)
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