(CNN Español) – In Colombia, the Ombudsman’s Office reported Monday that a policeman and 18 civilians had died within four days of protests against tax reform based on data from the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the National Police. Since April 28, 1,120 activities between rallies and marches have taken place in 390 municipalities and Bogota. Participation during those days was 238,000 people.
In view of these events, which they described as “unfortunate,” they stated that they would submit a request to the competent authorities to conduct the relevant investigations “with priority and speed.”
At a news conference on Monday, Defense Minister Diego Molano expressed his regret at the deaths and linked it to the sabotage. He confirmed that the police had been instructed to proceed with the investigation “immediately”. He noted that behind some of the violence during the protests, there are at least six criminal groups allegedly linked to it. According to the authorities, 540 police officers were injured, 306 civilians were wounded, and one died.
Regarding allegations of alleged police abuse, the Director of Police, General Jorge Luis Vargas, said that he had instructed the Foundation’s inspector to open 26 preliminary investigations.
On Sunday, the Public Prosecutor’s Office reported that it is conducting investigations to clarify the deaths of seven people who, according to preliminary information, were victims in events related to the strike.
Colombia’s President, Ivan Duque, decided this Sunday to withdraw the tax reform project, an initiative that Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla presented to Congress on April 15th. The decision comes after mass rallies and demonstrations to reject this proposal.
As mentioned in the text, the tax reform project sought to tax basic household products, increase the cost of gasoline, and broaden the taxable base for income tax, solidarity tax on higher salaries, and a two-year wealth tax. , Value-added tax for funeral services and internet services, among others.
According to the arguments of the Minister of Finance, the financial initiative sought to obtain resources equivalent to 6000 million dollars annually to be able to continue social programs to help the poorest groups and those who lost everything due to Covid-19. 19 Pandemic.
– Fernando Ramos of CNN en Español contributed to this report from Bogotá.