Police opened fire on demonstrators in the Colombian city of Cali killing several people. Antigovernment protests sparked by proposed tax increase but also against corruption, inequality and poverty. They enter the eigth day and show few signs of stopping. At least 24 are dead including police officers. At least 87 are missing. This week, the United Nations’ human rights division said that it was “deeply alarmed,” by the situation. Demonstrators now include teachers, doctors, students, members of major unions, longtime activists and other Colombians. Truckers are blocking major highways. On Tuesday, demonstrators in the capital burned buses and lit over a dozen police stations on fire, singing the national anthem, yelling “assassins!” and sending officers running for their lives. A total of 25 police stations had been attacked. On Wednesday, after seven days of marches and clashes that turned parts of Colombian cities into battlefields, demonstrators breached protective barriers around the nation’s Congress, attacking the building.
Thousands of people are still taking to the streets to protest against police brutality. Human rights NGOs say the real death toll could be much higher and have called for the president to restrain police from using any excessive use of force. Over all, in Latin America a deadly variant of the Covid virus originally found in Brazil, called P.1 has ripped through populations, and become one of several factors pushing many countries to their worst daily death tolls. The region’s economies shrank by an average of 7 percent. In many places, unemployment, particularly among the young, increased. Colombia will hold presidential elections in 2022.