The Colombian Protest has been going on for a month now. These protests have seen around 26 deaths(government stats; an NGO stat estimates it to be 42). Over 2000, reported cases of Police brutalities which also includes more than 27 cases of alleged sexual violence. To mark completing one month of the protest, the people have called out a national strike today, i.e., 28th May 2021.
The Reasons For the Protest
Though there could be a number of reasons for the Colombian Protest, they were surely triggered in April. The Colombian Government passed the bill 010 to increase funding to a universal basic income social program. This program called Ingreso Solidario was established in April last year. It was to provide relief during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Colombia. The legislative bill 010 proposed to make several changes in the health care system in Colombia.
Another reason has been the increase in taxation rates in Colombia. Accompanying this is the issue of unemployment. The unemployment rate in Colombia is at an all-time high now, with at least one in four Colombians under the age of 28 unemployed. The Colombian economy has also seen its worst phase in 50 years and its GDP fell by 6.8% in 2020. Stats say that 42% of Colombians are earning less than US$90 per month. Hence, the increased taxation to allow the money to flow into Ingreso Solidario has been the biggest trigger for the start of the protests on 28th April.
Cases of Violence And the Governance
Though most of the protests went peaceful, some instances of violence also took place. They mostly happened in Cali and Bogotá. Earlier, the Judicial Body of the nation had ordered the cancellation of permits for the protests. This was done in order to prevent any more outbreaks or increased cases of Covid-19.
In Cali and Bagotá, the protestors destroyed Public Transport and also caused a lot of inconvenience to the general public. Later, deaths were reported after Police opened fire at the outraged mob on 3rd May. Cases, where hotels were burned, were also reported.
Among these instances, the Pereira firearm attack has been at the center of the chaos. It happened so that around the night of May 5, a random motorcyclist opened fire on the protestors. This injured three people. Somehow, it spread among the people that it was by the officials. Thus, it turned the protests more violent! A student, Lucas Villa, who succumbed to the wounds became the hero of the protestants.
His Death has been condemned by the authorities. This includes the President of Colombia, Iván Duque. The government is trying its best to subside the protests. Over 500 arrests have already taken place(as per official records). Many Human Rights organizations have also come forward to shun the acts of the Colombian Government!
As things Progress, The Government is trying to agree to some terms of the protestors. But the demands of the protestors have also been increasing lately. Still, Talks continue.
We hope peace soon finds Colombia!