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  • March of indigenous peoples in rejection of President Ivan Duque's policies in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 4, 2019.

    March of indigenous peoples in rejection of President Ivan Duque's policies in Bogota, Colombia, Dec. 4, 2019. | Photo: EFE

Published 4 December 2019

“We want negotiations that generate agreements on what citizens have been requesting,” the Unitary Central of Workers president said.

Thousands of Colombians Wednesday took to the streets to reject President Ivan Duque and perform their third nationwide strike in the last 14 days, which sets an unprecedented record in Latin America.

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In Bogota, Medellin, Cali, Nieva, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, Cartagena, and dozens of cities in the interior, concentrations led by workers, students, teachers, environmental activists, and human rights defenders are performed with enthusiasm among music, flags, and other cultural expressions.

This impressive mobilization acquired more adherents after Tuesday, a day in which the conservative government accepted a brief dialogue with social organizations but did not yield its positions at all.

In Bogota, four mass marches will depart from different parts of the city to meet at Bolivar Square, where social movements will read a new message for the Duque administration.

"This is in Bogota. In the first line, they are brave, resisting, and ready for everything. People like you and me who want real changes, changes for a more promising present and future. I pray to the gods that something wonderful happens in Colombia. The nationwide strike continues."

Among the petitions that the Colombian government did not accept was the request that the Mobile Riot Squadron (Esmad) was not deployed to the streets to avoid further incidents of police brutality.

Nor did the Duque administration accept requests related to the dissolution of Esmad, the depuration of the National Police, and the increase of pensions, among other things.

"We are against tax reform and increases in public services fares. We continue to fight for the right to a healthy environment, decent health care services, and increases in the education budget," the Colombian Federation of Education Workers (Fecode) recalled.

"We reject selective murders of social leaders, human rights defenders, environmental activists, and former guerrilla fighters. We demand the consolidation of the Peace process."

The slogan is "We should strike in order to move forward. Long live the national strike." On the streets of Colombia, there is a "request party" that demands the Duque government to listen to the people.

The Unitary Central of Workers (CUT) president Diogenes Orjuela informed that they will ask again the Duke administration to resume dialogues so as to find solutions to the country's crisis.

“We want conversations and negotiations that generate agreements on what citizens have been requesting since the nationwide strike held on Nov. 21,” Orjuela said.

As long as that does not happen, however, social and political organizations will continue to demonstrate until Dec. 10. Subsequently, other decisions will be taken.

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