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At least three killed and 98 detained in Thursday protests in Colombia

by Ace Damon
At least three killed and 98 detained in Thursday protests in Colombia

At least three people were killed and 98 others were arrested during Thursday's protests in Colombia against President Iván Duque's social and economic policies, according to a statement issued today by the Ministry of Defense.

"In recent hours, authorities have confirmed the deaths of two people during the riots in Buenaventura and one in Candelaria, municipalities of Valle del Cauca," a department in the west of the country, said Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo.

The two deaths in Buenaventura occurred during an attempted robbery of a commercial center in the city, which has Colombia's main seaport, and the death in Candelaria was not specified.

Cali, Colombia's third largest city, was the main focus of violent incidents of robbery and vandalism, after which the city government declared a mandatory curfew until today.

According to the minister, about 253,000 people participated in “622 activities such as marches, rallies and other activities” in 350 municipalities in 31 Colombian departments.

Trujillo added that 98 people were arrested and 207 were taken to police delegations "for their protection."

“In total, 151 members of the security forces – 148 military and three police – were injured during the day of protests across the country. 122 civilians were also injured, with minor injuries or consequences of gas inhalation, ”he concluded.

"The cost of the damage exceeds 20 billion pesos" (about 5.2 million euros), said Peñalosa.

At the end of the protest, some of the most violent protesters confronted the police in Bolivar Square and attacked the Capitol, the Courthouse and the Liévano Palace (headquarters of the local government) with stones, paint and 'Molotov cocktails'.

At least 68 stations on the TransMilenio public transport system have been damaged with stones, sticks and paint, and repairs will last two days, officials said.

On social networks, images have turned viral in which members of the National Police Mobile Anti-Disturbance Squad (ESMAD) hit a woman in the face, and videos in which more than five police officers beat a couple on a street in downtown Bogota.

Meanwhile, the Defense Minister announced that the General Police Inspectorate has opened eleven preliminary investigations in Bogota, Manizales, Cali and Cartagena on allegations of "possible irregularities in the conduct of police members."

Trujillo also highlighted the work done by security forces during the protests, as they acted “with legitimate force” and helped to restore order in various cities across the country.

"Our public security forces will continue to act to ensure the peaceful and democratic exercise of the right of Colombians to freely manifest themselves, as is the nature of the freedom regime," he concluded.

. (tagsToTranslate) portuguese agency

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