Colombia to probe police officers who stood by as civilians shot at protesters

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: May 31, 2021, 11:16 PM(IST)

Colombian police officers arrest a demonstrator during a protest against the government in Cali, Colombia, on May 10, 2021. Photograph:( AFP )

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On Monday, the country’s attorney general’s office reported 20 deaths linked to the protesters, increasing the toll by three

Authorities in Colombia are probing 10 police officers who allegedly stood by as civilians shot at protesters in Cali, a high-ranking official said on Monday. At the same time, the attorney general’s office linked three additional deaths to the nationwide protests, Reuters reported.

In the Andean county, protests have been doing on for over a month against the social and economic policies of the government. Many have urged President Ivan Duque to resign.

These protests were sparked by a tax reform, which has now been withdrawn. Since its withdrawal, the demands of protesters have diversified. Many are asking for expansion for a basic income, more employment opportunities for youngsters and an end to police violence. 

Many of them also want the anti-riot unit ESMAD to be dissolved.

Also read: UN rights chief urges independent probe into deaths in Colombia

The protests have been witness to a lot of violence. On Monday, the country’s attorney general’s office reported 20 deaths linked to the protesters, increasing the toll by three. Human rights groups claim that a lot more have died in the protests at the hands of police forces.

The country’s third-largest city of Cali has recently become an epicentre for protests. On Friday, the city saw more bloodshed. According to the attorney general, many civilians also shot at protesters.

The director of Colombia’s police, General Jorge Luis Vargas on Monday announced that an investigation has been launched to identify those involved in the killings. Vargas added that information about officers who broke the law has been sent to the military justice unit of Colombia.

Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina over the weekend reported over a dozen deaths in the city on Friday. In addition, Ospina claimed that armed men had shot at protesters in the presence of police.

Also read: Colombian army tightens grip on Cali after protests leave 13 dead

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