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Colombian President Ivan Duque withdraws controversial tax bill from Parliament, but keeps militarization decree.
Meanwhile, the mayors of Colombia's two largest cities, the capital Bogota, Claudia Lopez, and Medellin, Daniel Quintero rejected on Sunday the militarization of their cities, decreed by president Ivan Duque to crack down on massive demonstrations against a tax-reform bill that in turn was withdrawn by Government.
"Despite the difficulties of these days, our metropolitan police have the situation under control," said Bogota's Lopez, who also stressed she did not request any militarization since most of the protests in the capital have been peaceful except for a few isolated acts of vandalism.
Meanwhile, Medellin's Quintero said that army support would be considered for the suburbs and rural areas, as police forces were enough to keep the situation under control in the city.
The decision to deploy the army in the cities was taken Saturday afternoon by President Duque, expecting local authorities' support, especially in places like Bogota, Medellin and Cali, where protests were stronger and repression harsher.
The army will not settle the crisis nor will put an end to the protest, said Jorge Ivan Ospina, mayor of Cali, the city where police reportedly killed at leeast eight people on Friday.
"Today, instead of militarizing society, we need to dismiss the tax reform, open a great national dialogue with all sectors, to reach a major agreement on the COVID-19 pandemic socio-economic consequences," Ospina said Jorge Ivan Ospina, mayor of Cali.
The president said he will deploy the army to protect citizens. However, he only raised fears that soldiers on the streets may escalate the already high levels of violence against demonstrators.