On Monday (26) thousands of people demonstrated in the streets of major cities in Colombia Against measures proposed by leftist President Gustavo Petro, such as raising taxes on agrarian reform and the rich.
In Bogota, protesters crowded the streets of the city center and gathered in the Plaza de Bolivar, next to the presidential residence, chanting “Fora Pietro!”.
“Petro promised a change in public policy but he surrounded himself with corrupt politicians. This is disingenuous,” said Orlando Novoa, 60, who owns a construction company with about 30 employees.
In Medellin, a team from the state-run Telemedellín channel was attacked by protesters and forced to leave coverage, the NGO denounced the Foundation for the Freedom of the Press.
Gustavo Petro takes office as President of Colombia
The first left-wing president
Petro became the first left-wing president in history Colombia By winning over half of the electorate with reform proposals, such as raising taxes on the rich, halting oil drilling, and implementing agrarian reform to distribute fertile land among the landless peasants.
To put these initiatives into practice, Petro formed a majority legislative coalition with the support of several traditional parties.
Congress is currently debating the government’s tax reform bill that aims to collect more taxes from the upper classes to fund their social programs against poverty and inequality.
Petro’s defenders exchange insults with opponents
And in the capital, dozens of young men mobilized in defense of the president exchanged insults and props with their opponents, forcing city officials to intervene.
Demonstrations roamed the streets of Medellin, Cali, Bucaramanga and other state capitals.
Respect for private property
Petro’s rise to power encouraged the natives and peasants to occupy dozens of properties by force. Petro criticized the invasions, but even so, in Cali, hundreds of people in white took to the streets with signs that read “Respect for private property” and “Petro encourages crime rather than production.”
Petro was a member of M-19, a nationalist urban guerrilla, for 12 years. In 1990, M-19 signed a peace agreement and became a political party.
Anti-Petro protesters also complain about Petro’s past: “It’s a shame you have a guerrilla chief. I’m angry,” said Manuela Hernandez, 62, who owns a swimwear company in Bogotá.
Protests during previous governments
The former president, Evan Duque, faced major protests in 2019, 2020 and 2021, led by youth.
The deadliest was last year, when Duque attempted to tax the middle class to deal with the ravages of the pandemic, which sparked two months of violent demonstrations that left 46 people dead, including civilians and police, according to the United Nations.
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