The international community on Tuesday accused the United Nations of describing “use of excessive force” by Colombian guards after numerous deaths during the days of anti-government protests.
The United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and rights groups joined the chorus of criticism after official data showed that clashes with security forces killed 19 people and injured 846.
The Colombian human rights ombudsman, a state agency independent of the government, said 89 people were described as “disappeared.”
Tens of thousands of Colombians appeared on the streets in a demonstration that began last Wednesday in opposition to the proposed tax reform, but since then it has turned into a broader protest against President Ivan Duque’s government. ..
On Tuesday, protesters blocked roads in some parts of the country, in line with new demonstrations in the capital Bogotá and Cali in the western part of the country.
Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city and most affected by ongoing unrest, has been patroled by soldiers on government orders since last Friday.
The Ministry of Defense has assigned 47,500 uniformed personnel nationwide. In Cali alone, 700 soldiers, 500 MTFs, 1,800 other police, and two helicopters are in operation.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights reportedly expressed “serious shock” in an overnight incident in Cali on Tuesday, and police reportedly “fired” on demonstrators and killed several people.
“We can clearly say that there are witnesses, with reports of excessive use of force by guards, shooting, use of live ammunition, beatings of demonstrators, and even detention,” said spokesman Malta. Hartado told reporters in Geneva.
Colombian ombudsman Carlos Camargo is a member of his office, a representative of the Attorney General tasked with investigating official fraud, and three human rights activists while assisting detainees in Cali on Monday night. Said that he was attacked by the public army.
The five were “threatening fires in the air and on the floor, throwing stun grenades, exposed to verbal abuse, and threatened by national police officers who demanded they leave,” he said.
Local security officials said five people were killed and 33 were injured overnight in Cali.
Meanwhile, the South American Football Federation CONMEBOL has announced that three games scheduled to take place this week in Colombia as part of the Copa Libertadores and Sudamericana tournament have been moved to Paraguay as a result of ongoing anxiety.
The United Nations sought calm ahead of a new rally scheduled for Wednesday, saying security forces should only use guns as a last resort in the face of an imminent threat of death or serious injury.
The European Union has also accused the reported deaths-18 civilians and police officers nationwide so far.
Duque’s government has officially acknowledged the deaths of one civilian and one police officer, accusing violence organized by armed groups operating in the country.
“There is nothing to justify armed people who are protected by the desire of civilians to march, shoot unprotected civilians, and cruelly attack police,” the proposal that triggered the first protest on Sunday. Mr. Duque, who withdrew the reforms, said.
Three uniformed police officers have been shot dead since the demonstration began.
Defense Minister Diego Morano said the violence was “organized, planned and funded by criminal gangs.”
“Our public authority must be ruthless to those who use vandalism,” the minister warned.
EU spokesman Peter Stano said the priority was to stop the spread of violence and “avoid disproportionate use of force by security forces.”
And Jarina Porter, a deputy spokesman for the US State Department, emphasized the right of all to peacefully protest.
“Violence and vandalism are abuses of that right. At the same time, we urge maximum control by public authority to prevent further loss of life,” she said.
Anti-government protests, boosted by the global health crisis, come at a time of financial despair for many.
Colombia’s GDP shrank 6.8% in 2020 with the worst performance in half a century, with unemployment at 16.8% in March.
According to official figures, almost half of the population lives in poverty.