Mobilizations taking place in Bogotá and Cali today

Published by Brent Patterson on

There will be a major protest in Bogota and other cities today, Tuesday July 20, Independence Day in Colombia.

The PBI-Colombia accompanied NOMADESC has tweeted: “July 20, through the streets of #Cali within the framework of #ParoNacional We are going to mobilize from different sectors towards the hill of dignity, we are waiting for you.”

Agence France-Presse reports: “More than 6,000 police and 2,700 soldiers will be deployed to control 35 events planned for the capital.”

That article adds that the government is expected to put forward a new tax reform proposal today. It was the Duque government’s first tax proposal that prompted the national strike protests that began on April 28.

While the Colombian government withdrew their tax proposal within days, the national strike protests continued highlighting deeper systemic issues of economic disparities and human rights violations.

The Financial Times reports that the tax package to be announced today “aims to raise $4bn — around two-thirds as much as the initial package.” The finance minister says around $1.8 billion of that would come from a corporate tax increase.

International Observation Mission

On Monday July 19, the International Mission for Guarantees for Social Protest and Against Impunity urged the Colombian government to guarantee the right to peaceful protest and avoid police violence.

The Guardian notes: “A recent human rights commission to Colombia made up of delegates from 13 countries found that authorities used counter-insurgency tactics against protesters.” Heather Neun of Peace Brigades International-Canada was a member of that international observation mission.


AFP also notes: “Earlier this month, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights hit out at Colombia’s ‘disproportionate’ and ‘lethal’ response to the protests.”

“Cosmetic” police reforms

The Guardian adds: “Duque announced on Monday [July 19] some reforms to the national police, including new uniforms and human rights training for anti-riot officers. Critics say the changes are cosmetic rather than practical.”

The Associated Press further notes: “Officers and junior officers will be obliged to take a new course on human rights, and the police will toughen sanctions against those who commit abuses. The nation’s mobile riot squad [called the ESMAD] will also have to undergo a new course on human rights.”

That article adds: “The reforms announced by Duque are not as far reaching as those proposed by Human Rights Watch and other international organizations like the Inter American Commission for Human Rights.”

The IACHR had recommended: “Implement immediately mechanisms to prohibit in a way effective use of lethal force as a resource in public demonstrations.” The Mission recommended: “Demilitarize and structurally reform the National Police in order to carry out the dissolution of the ESMAD [mobile riot squad].”

The week, the National Strike Committee will be announcing 10 proposed laws including one that “guarantees for the exercise of the right to peaceful protest.”

PBI-Canada will be following via social media the events of today.

Categories: News Updates


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