The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused Colombian security forces of using excessive force against protesters.
The United Nations said it was particularly shocked by what happened in Cali on Monday, when police said it had fired at protesters.
It is said that deaths have been reported, but some have not yet been confirmed.
On Monday, the Colombian ombudsman said at least 19 people had died during a week of anxiety over the proposed tax reform.
The Ombudsman’s office included the number of people killed first since the protests began at 17, but later revised that number to 19. But it was before a new clash that took place overnight in Colombia’s third-largest city, Cali.
Marta Hartado, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the United Nations received reports of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders in the city, injuring and even killing protesters. ..
“What we can clearly say is that we have been reported and have witnesses of excessive use of force by guards, shooting, use of live ammunition, demonstrators beatings, and even detention.” She told reporters in Geneva. ..
People also went to the streets on Monday in the capital Bogotá, Colombia’s second largest city, Medellín, and the northern city of Bucaramanga.
What started the protest?
When the protests began on April 28, they were primarily opposed to the tax reforms currently shelved.
The government argued that reform was the key to mitigating Colombia’s economic crisis. Gross domestic product (GDP) fell 6.8% last year, the most serious accident in half a century, and the coronavirus pandemic further increased unemployment.
The proposed reforms would have lowered the salary taxable threshold and affected people with monthly salaries of P2.6 million ($ 684; £ 493) and above. It also eliminates many of the current exemptions that individuals enjoy and increases the taxes levied on businesses.
It caused anger among Colombians who had already been struck by a pandemic, and protests joined many middle-class people who were afraid to see them fall into poverty.
Why are people still on the street?
President Ivan Duque announced on Sunday that he would withdraw tax reform, but protests continue in major Colombian cities.
A group that called for protests last week convened a new national strike on Wednesday, saying that the withdrawal of tax reforms was not enough and that it also wanted to improve Colombia’s pension, health and education system.
However, many people on the streets have said they have been angry with the use of force by security forces since the president announced a U-turn on tax reform. More than 800 people have been reported injured in a clash between police and demonstrators.
Police officials say it was often police officers who were attacked in an attempt to prevent “criminal elements” from looting stores and burning buses. They say hundreds of police officers were injured and at least one was killed.
Colombian defense minister said it was blamed on demonstrations in which illegal armed groups invaded protests and plunged into turmoil and vandalism.
What is the background?
This is not the first time the anti-government movement has become fatal in Colombia.
There was anger in 2019 Teen protester Reuniclus died After being hit in the head by a police projectile.
And last September, at least seven people were killed in protests Man’s deadly taser by police In the capital Bogotá.