On May 8, it has been more than 10 days since the Colombians took to the streets to express their discontent. The protests resulted in violent altercations between government forces and the civilian population. The official death toll shows 26 dead and around 800 blessings as of May 8. The NGO Temblores, for its part, deplores 37 dead. The protests therefore began on April 28 after the government announced further tax reform. This bill aimed to increase the taxes of the Colombian middle classes and to increase the VAT on more than twenty products. The aim of this reform was to help the government cope with the health crisis linked to the Covid-19 epidemic.
Colombia has been experiencing a serious economic crisis since 2020, in fact, the unemployment rate has climbed to 16.8% and poverty affects 42.5% of the population. The protests were immediately directed against the policies of President Ivan Duque, whose popularity has fallen sharply in recent years. As a result, the president gave up on tax reform. The demonstrators however continued to protest in particular against all the dysfunctions of the country (corruption, health system, etc…), the population demands a better quality of life.
The government’s response resulted in heavy police repression. The state justifies this violence by the appropriation of popular uprisings by extremist groups such as the FARC, the National Liberation Guerrilla Army (ELN) and urban gangs. UN, EU, US and NGOs denounce violent crackdown on protesters. President Ivan Duque is keen to engage in dialogue, in particular with all parties.