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Police And Protestors Clash In Colombia

WEds. Jan. 22, 2020, Bogota, Colombia, AFP: Riot police clashed with demonstrators in the Colombian capital Bogota on Tuesday as anti-government protests resumed across the country.

At least four people were wounded in clashes in Bogota as marchers blocked streets in several districts.

Protests against conservative President Ivan Duque’s 17-month-old government first erupted in November. What began as a general strike has morphed into a wider display of discontent over his economic policies, unemployment, political corruption and drug-financed violence.

Bogota city hall reported 18 peaceful demonstrations across the city as well as two protests in the northwest and south of the city where riot police clashed with “violent hooded men”.

Three police officers and one demonstrator were wounded, it said.

Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, who took office on January 1, has set up a protocol to try to prevent clashes at demonstrations, which have left four people dead since they began on November 21.

About 500 people have been injured and some 200 arrested.

Street demonstrations also took place Tuesday in cities such as Cali, Medellin and Barranquilla.

Many protesters feel that efforts to end the decades-long armed conflict with the country’s FARC rebels has detracted from progress in other areas of society.

Protesters also want Duque to dismantle the feared ESMAD riot police, widely criticized for its heavy handed response to demonstrations.

Duque has yielded to some of the other demands on tax reform, announcing the return of Value Added Tax to the poorest 20 percent of the population and benefits for companies that hire young people.

The president defended what he called “a national conversation” with various sectors of society to try to find a way out of the stand-off.

“We want to listen to all sectors so that we can move on to making proposals, where we can solve many of the country’s needs that have emerged from years ago,” Duque said.

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