Demonstrators of the national strike in Colombia against the tax reform promoted by the government of President Ivan Duque denounced on Wednesday the repression of the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad (Esmad) occurred in several cities such as Cali, Medellin and Bogota.
“Esmad arrived to disperse everyone. People were calm, without doing any damage and they (the Esmad) arrived to set everything on fire,” said one of the demonstrators to a local media in Medellin, where the mobilizations were carried out peacefully until noon this day.
The councilwoman of that city, Dora Saldarriaga, denounced on social networks the aggression. “The people were peacefully protesting and the Esmad arrived to intimidate and dissolve the march (…) we ask the mayor to call the police to give the order to attack the population,” she said on Twitter.
The massive group of people that mobilized in Bogota was also repressed by Esmad agents at midday, after having marched through several streets of the city until reaching the historic Plaza de Bolivar, where violent actions began to put an end to the protest.
Meanwhile, in the city of Cali, disturbances and violent actions against the population were also reported. Press media have reported several injured and local authorities have counted one dead. A curfew has also been decreed in Cali.
The mayor of Cali, Jorge Iván Ospina, decreed a curfew as of 3:00 p.m. (local time) in the afternoon. However, the measure went into effect as from 13H00 (local time), although with a margin for the demonstrators to reach their homes.
For his part, the Colombian Minister of Defense Diego Molano stated prior to the massive mobilizations that 554 members of the Police, 300 Esmad agents and 450 Army soldiers had been deployed to try to control the situation of disturbances in the city.