UN Alarmed Over Police Violence In Colombia Protests
BOGOTA, Colombia: The United Nations human rights office said it was deeply alarmed over violence against protesters in the Colombian city of Cali, where police opened fire on demonstrators and allegedly killed and injured several people Monday night.
The statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights on Wednesday comes as antigovernment protests sparked by proposed tax increase enter their sixth day and show few signs of stopping.
According to Colombias Human Rights Ombudsman, 16 protesters and one policeman have been killed in the demonstrations since last Wednesday. But that figure doesnt include reports of deaths in Cali on Monday, which the U.N. said it is still trying to confirm.
The protests began after Colombias government proposed a tax plan aimed at raising $6.7 billion to pay the countrys debts and maintain a basic income scheme for 3 million low-income people that started during the pandemic.
President Ivn Duque withdrew the tax plan on Sunday amid the protests and his finance minister resigned the following day, but large demonstrations and roadblocks have continued.
Numerous videos have emerged on social media showing police using excessive force during the protests and even shooting at some demonstrators point blank.
In its statement, the UN urged Colombias government to protect the rights of protesters.
Law enforcement officers should abide by the principles of legality, precaution and necessity of proportionality, the statement said.