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Mon May 10, 2021, 10:27 PM

Cali is the cockpit of chaos as Colombia protests threaten to spiral out of control

Joe Parkin Daniels in Cali
Mon 10 May 2021 14.58 EDT

The presence of armed civilians attacking protesters has added a worrying dimension to a wave of unrest that has claimed 47 lives

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Joe Parkin Daniels in Cali
Mon 10 May 2021 14.58 EDT

On a recent evening, Andrés pulled on his gas mask and helmet and headed for the barricades at the entrance to his rundown neighbourhood in Cali, a city which has become the center of Colombia’s anti-government protests.
But as he approached the roadblock of rocks, rubble and barbed wire, he saw a motorcycle speeding towards him. In an attempt to turn the vehicle back, another demonstrator shone a laser pen in the driver’s eyes.

Others screamed “the way is closed”, but still the bike wove past burning piles of rubbish towards the protesters.
Then, the masked pillion rider drew a handgun and opened fire.

“No one was hurt, thank God,” said Andrés, in the neighbourhood known as Puerto Resistencia. “But others will come.”

Cali is the focus of a nationwide wave of demonstrations against poverty and inequality exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
But a string of incidents in which men in civilian clothing have brandished assault rifles and opened fire on protesters has prompted fears that the country – which is only just clawing its way out of war – is heading for broader conflict.

. . .

On Sunday night, Colombia’s president, Iván Duque, announced that more soldiers and police officers would be dispatched to the city to lift blockades. Chillingly, he also instructed indigenous protesters to “return to their reservations” in order to “avoid violent confrontations with citizens”.


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Reply Cali is the cockpit of chaos as Colombia protests threaten to spiral out of control (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 10 OP
Judi Lynn May 14 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri May 14, 2021, 04:12 PM

1. In Pictures: Cali - The epicentre of protests in Colombia

‘Resistance Port’ is one of the biggest barricades in Cali and one of the areas where police have clashed with protesters.

A small police station that was burned during the early days of the protest has been adapted as a 'popular library' in the neighbourhood of San Antonio. [Mauricio Morales/Al Jazeera]

By Mauricio Morales
14 May 2021

Cali, Colombia – Cali has become the epicentre of anti-government protests since April 28 over a tax reform proposal by President Ivan Duque’s right-wing government that intends to tax basic goods and food for an already impoverished working class struggling through the pandemic.

The streets of Cali, the third largest city of Colombia with almost 2.5 million inhabitants, have witnessed intense police violence and alleged human rights violations.

According to Temblores, an independent human rights NGO that has been documenting the protests, 47 civilians have been allegedly killed by Colombian police including 32 in Cali; while the state prosecution office says the number is 27.

The protests, which started over the tax proposal, now aim to address economic and social inequality, the handling of the pandemic and the deaths of civilians at the hands of police since the unrest began.


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