Colombia: Duque government must end violence against protestors

The ITUC is expressing its support for the people of Colombia as they face a brutal crackdown by the government of President Iván Duque.

Working people in Colombia, led by an alliance of trade unions and social groups, have taken to the streets every day since 28 April against the far-right Duque government and its planned tax reform, which would deepen inequality. The scale of the demonstrations forced the government to withdraw the bill.

This week the government deployed the notorious Anti-Riot Squad (ESMAD) across the country. More than 1,089 cases of violence have been reported, including the following:

  • 726 arbitrary detentions
  • 28 deaths
  • 6 women raped by ESMAD soldiers
  • 234 people wounded
  • 5 demonstrators disappeared

The ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, said: “The ITUC stands in solidarity with the people of Colombia as they face this vicious assault by a desperate government, just for exercising their right to freedom of expression.

“We support the trade unions in Colombia, which have taken the brave decision to continue with peaceful demonstrations in line with the decisions of the National Strike Committee (NSC).

“We call on the government of President Duque to end the repression now. Demilitarise urban areas, dismantle ESMAD, punish those responsible for the violence against the demonstrations, guarantee the right of peaceful protest and start negotiations over the Unified Emergency Plan with the NSC.”