Videos posted on social networks show hundreds of people fleeing from the agents amid tear gas smoke and gunfires. The ESMAD attacked protesters to clear the Ciudad Victoria civic square, the main point of resistance in Pereira.
"Our city lived a new night of terror. How many more dead, wounded, missing, detained, and eye mutilated people does Colombia need," political scientist Renato Pereira tweeted.
In Bogota, police officers also repressed peaceful protests and threw tear gases inside homes, affecting children and elderly people. A 10-year-old minor was taken out of his home unconscious in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The National Strike Committee (CNP) condemned the ongoing police brutality and assured that agents' excessive use of force is the main reason why the protests will continue nationwide for the upcoming days.
Member of Colombia’s indigenous guard (workers self defence) murdered by a govt hitman. People are striking & rising right across Colombia. They’re sick of state repression & robbery. But here the penalty for protest is death. #ParoNacionalColombiapic.twitter.com/rgzz0ng8j2
"The people demand a better country. The government must listen and respond to our demands and to establish a negotiation table with representatives of all sectors of our society," United Workers Central (CUT) President Francisco Maltes said.
"Enough of the fratricidal war we are living in the streets, enough of the onslaught of public force, which violates all national and international human rights protocols," Maltes added.
The escalation of tensions in Colombia came as hundreds of British people took to social media to demand that the United Kingdom (U.K.) Police stop training Colombian officers.
"The U.K. has been providing training and selling riot equipment to the Colombian police for the past three years. How can we be sure that this training is not related to human rights abuses? We need answers," human rights advocate Alirio Uribe tweeted.