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  • Riot police officers walk amid tear gas during a protest in Bogota, Colombia, November 21, 2019.

    Riot police officers walk amid tear gas during a protest in Bogota, Colombia, November 21, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 21 November 2019

Bogota’s government secretary, Ivan Casas, said on Thursday that more than 4,000 police have been deployed on the streets.

Colombia's militarized anti-riot Police (Esmad) violently dispersed protesters with tear gas on Thursday in the Plaza de Bolívar de Bogotá as they were blocking roads at the end of the demonstrations against the economic and social policy of the Government of President Iván Duque.

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In other departments of the country, organizations of students, indigenous people, campesinos and workers also took part of the anti-austerity protests.

In the densely populated Suba district of northwestern Bogota, some subway stations also were intermittently blocked and the police assaulted the demonstrators at the Portal de Suba terminus station.

A crowd shouting “el pueblo unido jamas sera vencido” (the people united will never be defeated) jeered police who had arrived at the scene and fired tear gas to disperse groups of people blocking different entrances to the station.

Since Tuesday human rights defenders have been denouncing that the Police raided homes of social leaders in Bogotá, Medellín, and Cali.

So far, according to UNCHR data, 27 raids have been carried out in Bogotá, five in Cali and four in Medellín to homes of activists, offices of social organizations and alternative media facilities.

Alleging the need to avoid possible excesses, the Ivan Duque administration also launched other security measures such as the closure of international borders, deployment of 4,000 additional police on the streets and aerial surveillance of protests.

Colombia's main organizations of workers, farmers, and students reject Duque’s neoliberal policy package, which seeks to eliminate the state-based pension fund, increase the retirement age and hire young people with salaries below the minimum wage.

Progressive parties and organizations also require the right-wing government to demonstrate a greater commitment to the implementation of the Peace Agreement and more protection to the lives of social leaders, who have been victims of selective killings executed by "unidentified" paramilitary groups.​​​​​

Since the signing of the Peace Agreement in 2016, at least 777 social leaders and 137 former guerrilla fighters have been killed in Colombia, according to the Institute for Development and Peace (Indepaz)​​​​​​.

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