Colombia: Tear gas flies as Bogota protest turns violent

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Anti-government protesters clashed with police after a mass strike over Colombian President Ivan Duque’s social and economic policies as part of his National Development Plan (NDP) turned violent in Bogota on Thursday.

Riot police tried to disperse the protesters, who pressed on despite heavy rain, with tear gas and water cannons. People from all walks of life across the country protested the decrease in the education budget, change of pension plans, the reduction of minimum salary to people under 25 years of age, and the selling of state-owned companies.

The demonstrators also denounced the slow progress in acting upon Colombia’s 2016 peace deal with leftist Revolutionary Forces (Farc) which officially ended 50 years of civil war that forced over seven million to flee their homes and cost the lives of hundreds of thousands. The Colombian President is also accused of not protecting indigenous people and social leaders, who are being murdered at an increasing rate.

Duque, who is facing demonstrations against his government across Colombia, has reportedly mobilised hundreds of soldiers to reinforce the security in the country’s biggest cites in addition to closing all border crossings to Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru.

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