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World

No end in sight as Colombia marks full month of protests

  • Some fear deep-seated rancor will continue fueling revolt in a country intimately familiar with violent conflict and deep social inequality, with many people with little to lose.
Published May 28, 2021

BOGOTA: Colombia on Friday marks a full month of anti-government protests that have claimed dozens of lives and invited international condemnation of its police response. Observers fear the end is nowhere in sight.

Protesters first took to the streets on April 28 against a proposed tax increase many Colombians said would leave them poorer even as the coronavirus pandemic was erasing jobs and eating into savings.

Though the reform was quickly withdrawn, it triggered a broad anti-government mobilization by people who felt they were left to fend for themselves in the health crisis, and angry over the heavy-handed response of security forces.

Some fear deep-seated rancor will continue fueling revolt in a country intimately familiar with violent conflict and deep social inequality, with many people with little to lose.

"There is an active sector (of society) that was for a long time excluded from politics, from the workforce and now also the education system, and which got tired of being excluded," political scientist Sandra Borda of the University of the Andes told AFP.

"This is the sector that is demonstrating in the street."

Colombia is still recovering from nearly six decades of civil war, and battling ongoing violence fueled by drug wars and dissident fighters who turned their back on a 2016 peace deal.

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