Colombia: In a pandemic-affected economy, massive protests against taxes reform
“Protesters March In Colombia Against Plan To Raise Taxes In Pandemic-Wracked Economy”- April 30, 2021
While marching in nationwide demonstrations this week, Pablo Mora wore a face mask to protect himself from the coronavirus. But every so often, the retired security guard took it off and blew a whistle to voice his disgust with Colombia's government…COVID-19 deaths are spiking, the vaccine rollout has been slow, and even though Colombia is still climbing out of its deepest economic downturn, President Iván Duque is trying to raise taxes. All this prompted massive protests in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and other cities by shopkeepers, union leaders, teachers, university students and retirees…Colombian officials have tried to discourage the marches — which began Wednesday and have yet to die down — saying they could become coronavirus superspreader events at a critical moment. Across Colombia, hospital intensive care units are nearly full, and on Thursday, the health authorities reported 505 deaths in a single day from COVID-19, a new record. Meanwhile, just a tiny fraction of Colombians have been vaccinated…But facing a new round of curfews and other pandemic restrictions as well as the prospect of tax hikes on food, utilities and other essentials, many Colombians ignored these warnings. Though the marches were mostly peaceful, anti-riot police used tear gas to disperse protesters, some of whom burned buses, vandalized buildings and looted.