Thousands of Colombian people marched in protest on Thursday, November 21, demanding that the government take action on economic issues, according to reports.
Colombia closed its borders on Wednesday and blocked several major roads in anticipation of the nationwide protest, according to reports. The AP reported that the government of Colombia deployed 170,000 officers to the streets around the country to keep the peace.
Colombian President Ivan Duque said that his government was willing to listen and have a dialogue, and acknowledged there were problems to overcome, but implied that in some ways the protest was illegitimate and rooted in misinformation.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Duque said: “There are a few who see in the right to protest an opportunity of agitation based on lies, that the only thing they seek is to generate division among Colombians. We will not allow some to return us to old pointless confrontations.”
The protesters marched in support of a livable minimum wage and against corruption, proposed tax increases, and rumored proposed changes to the pension system, according to march organizers. Duque, who took office in 2018, has faced criticism from his constituents for failing to improve Colombia’s economic situation and follow through on the FARC peace agreement, the Washington Post reported.
Video from Bogota shows government security forces dispersing protesters with tear gas, despite claims from social media users that the action was unwarranted as the protest was peaceful. In the video, protesters can be heard yelling “murderer” and chanting “resistance.” Credit: Julii Rico via Storyful