A general strike and mass protests continue in Colombia today as people revolt against a right wing neoliberal government that has brutalised those who oppose it.
Over 30 people have been killed by police and hundreds injured since the strike began 11 days ago. Among the dead was 17-year-old Marcelo Agredo, who was killed in Medellín last week. Agredo had kicked the motorbike of a police officer and was shot in the back of the head by the officer as he ran away.
The mass revolt in Colombia was sparked by the so-called “Sustainable Solidarity Law” intended to pay for the fallout of Covid-19. The country has been hit hard by Covid-19, with over 76,000 deaths, the third highest number in Latin America. Cases and deaths continue to rise.
Yet despite the devastation wrought by the virus and the hardships people have faced, Colombian President Duque’s tax reform law sought to target workers and the poor through taxes on wages and consumption. Meanwhile, Colombia’s oligarchy was left largely untouched by the law and an already bloated military budget was to be maintained.
On 28 April, a general strike hit back against the reforms. Such was the impact of the movement that Colombian President Duque backtracked on the law. Despite this, protests have intensified in the face of the vicious response of the Colombian state, with more and more people coming onto the streets. The movement is not backing down and the protests have generalised into a revolt against health care reform, police brutality and the murder of social leaders.
People Before Profit stands in solidarity with the courageous protesters who are standing up against the Colombian government and its brutal police force.