Colombia withdraws controversial tax reform bill

Colombian President Ivan Duque on Sunday withdrew a controversial tax reform proposal after several days of deadly protests and widespread opposition from lawmakers.

"I am asking Congress to withdraw the law proposed by the finance ministry and urgently process a new law that is the fruit of consensus, in order to avoid financial uncertainty."

Lawmakers, unions and other groups hailed the announcement as a victory.

Banging pots and pans were heard in the capital, Bogota, in celebration.

But despite Duque's announcement, protests still raged on in some cities Sunday.

Thousands have clashed with police in deadly face-offs since demonstrations broke out last week over a tax law that would have increased taxes on individuals and products, most controversially some food and utilities.

Although Duque withdrew the proposed bill, he insisted on approving tax reform to maintain the country's credit rating.

"It is a moment for all of us to work together without malice."

The central bank warned last week that failing to approve a tax bill would negatively impact Colombia's economy.