Protests against the economic policy of the Government of Colombia They resumed this Monday for the sixth day in a row with roadblocks by taxi drivers and truckers, despite the fact that the president Ivan Duque announced on Sunday the withdrawal of the controversial tax reform bill presented to Congress.
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Taxi caravans with flags of Colombia some of the avenues of Bogota to demonstrate against a bill that regulates digital passenger transport applications, an initiative that, however, has already been rejected by Congress.
The highest concentrations of taxi drivers began in the Bogota neighborhoods of Tunjuelito and Puente Aranda, in the south of the city, as well as in Suba and Calle 170, in the north, where they caused traffic jams but peacefully.
The mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López, said that the city is experiencing “a difficult day blocked by multiple demonstrations by (drivers of) dump trucks, taxi drivers and (the) continuity of the national strike.”
According to the mayor, 25% of the Transmilenio public bus system “cannot operate due to vandalism destruction of 41 stations” during the excesses that followed the weekend protests against the tax reform.
DEMONSTRATIONS THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY
There are also protests by taxi drivers today in capitals like Cúcuta, on the border with Venezuela; in Pereira, in the region of the Eje Cafetero; in Bucaramanga (Santander), in Tunja (Boyacá), and in the Caribbean cities of Barranquilla and Montería, to denounce the “piracy” of digital platforms.
The protests of taxi drivers have been joined by truckers blocking the area of Siberia, on the outskirts of Bogotá, and the accesses to Zipaquirá, a town near the Colombian capital, as well as the Vía al Llano and highways in the departments of Caldas and Risaralda , in the center of the country, among other places.
The truckers, who supported the protests against the tax reform, have stated that they will continue to mobilize against other government initiatives, such as health care reform.
“We feel affected by so much arbitrariness of the Government towards truckers and different business groups, by the rise in fuel and tolls,” Alexander Castro, a truck driver who was part of a group of about 250 congregated in the sector of Molinos, in the south of the city.
The popular rebellion against the tax reform, which increased taxes by expanding the tax base and the collection of 19% VAT on public services, among other controversial measures, began last Wednesday and has continued despite the fall of the project.
The demonstrations have claimed the lives of an undetermined number of people, mostly young people, hit by police shots in cities such as Cali and Ibagué, according to various organizations.
The NGO Temblores said yesterday that it is investigating “the death of eight protesters allegedly attacked by the police” and “documented 940 cases of police violence” between those last Wednesday and last Saturday, in addition to “672 arbitrary arrests against protesters” and four complaints of sexual violence by the public force.
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