Hundreds of people have been arrested in recent Colombian protests, according to police.
Colombian police announced Wednesday that they had arrested 70 people in the wake of new anti-government protests that drew thousands of people around the country the day before and left dozens injured.
According to authorities, clashes with riot police left scores of civilians and agents wounded in the cities of Bogota, Medellin, and Cali as Colombians returned to the streets after a weeks-long vacation.
The protests have been reported as mainly peaceful by the authorities.
“National police have apprehended 70 people in the last few hours, 69 of them caught in the act, for crimes committed in numerous places on July 20, and one more on a homicide warrant,” the institution stated in a statement.
Blocking public roadways, causing property damage, hurling dangerous objects or chemicals, and possessing a handgun are all charges.
Armed groups, according to the authorities, infiltrated the protesters.
In Tuesday’s demonstrations, 50 individuals were hurt, including 24 civilians and 26 agents, according to Colombia’s human rights ombudsman.
Weeks of protests against a proposed tax hike erupted in late April, morphing into a widespread movement against President Ivan Duque’s right-wing administration.
The demonstrations called for an end to police repression and more supportive public policies to help alleviate the economic burden of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has left more than 40% of the country’s 50 million people in poverty.
The world community has denounced a security reaction that has resulted in the deaths of more than 60 individuals.
Even though smaller groups continued to demonstrate and obstacles remained, a major protest group, the so-called National Strike Committee, said on June 16 that it would call a halt to the protests.
As the government submits a new tax proposal to parliament on Tuesday, Colombia’s independence day, the committee has called for further protests.
The administration presented parliamentarians with a plan on Wednesday to overhaul the police, who have been accused of abusing civilian demonstrators.
It calls for enhanced officer training as well as penalties for cops who do not identify themselves when making arrests or refuse to be videotaped while performing their jobs.
However, it does not advocate removing the police from the military ministry’s jurisdiction, as protestors have requested.
“Because of the threat and violence that still exists in Colombia, the national police must be part of the ministry of defense,” police head Diego Molano told AFP.
“It has functions in the battle against drug trafficking, citizen security, and smuggling that necessitate coordination with military forces,” according to the institution.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is in charge of this. Brief News from Washington Newsday.