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With nationwide strike, Colombia joins South America’s season of protest

Thousands of union members and anti-government protesters took to the streets of Colombia on Thursday for a 12-hour nationwide strike, making the Andean nation the latest in South America to break out in large-scale civil unrest.

The protesters, who waved flags and banners, represented a range of disgruntled sectors of society — students, unions, and leftist and indigenous groups — that share rising anger against the increasingly unpopular government of conservative President Iván Duque.

In Bogota, the capital, protesters waved the flags of Chile and Ecuador and carried banners that read “South America woke up” and chanted “without violence.” Videos circulating on social media showed riot police firing tear gas and apprehending demonstrators.

Initially called by unions, the strike grew as other sectors joined in, furious over labor, pension and tax reforms being discussed in the national Congress, the killings of community organizers and indigenous leaders, and general dissatisfaction with the government’s failure to fully implement the historic 2016 peace accord with the guerrillas of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Washington Post

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