In an attempt to appease the population, Duque announced that he would propose congress suspend sales taxes for three days a year and stressed the virtues of the “National Conversation” rejected by the strike leaders.
The proposal was scorned by citizens, one of whom said: “Porky, please. This is not Black Friday.”
Strike escalates, violence returns
So far, the government’s failure to engage in talks and attempts to unilaterally solve and even deny issues raised by the strike leaders have only intensified protests. Tuesday was no exception.
The failed talks intensified protests almost immediately throughout Colombia and even in congress where administrative workers joined the protests by banging on pots and pans in a “cacerolazo” for a second consecutive day.
— Alirio Uribe Muñoz (@AlirioUribeMuoz) November 26, 2019
In Medellin, the protesters announced they would peacefully occupy the city and regional administration buildings at 9PM in a direct challenge to the security forces.
Meanwhile, after days of non-violence, clashes were again reported between students and the ESMAD, the loathed riot police that killed one protester and that the students want dismantled.
Hooded men, presumably radical students, clashed with police near public universities in the capital Bogota and the southern city of Neiva where three policemen were allegedly injured by a home-made grenade.
Official statistics on injuries and fatalities have been unreliable as the government seeks to inflate the gravity of injuries suffered by the security forces while diminishing the gravity of injuries suffered by civilians.
Duque’s boss steps in
The president’s political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, said on Tuesday that his far-right Democratic Center party had revoked a proposal that would allow employers to hire workers by the hour.
Protesters considered this controversial labor reform proposal part of what they call “Duque’s great package.”
Colombia’s center-left opposition reiterated its support for the strike leaders and urged the president to restart attempts to negotiate an end of the protests to the protesters.
The center-right voting bloc has acknowledged the legitimacy of the protests. Some senators actively support the strike while others remain neutral.
Duque can only count on the minority coalition of conservative and far-right parties, but this coalition is cracking.
While Uribe’s party stands firmly behind Duque, the Evangelical Christian MIRA party joined the leftist opposition’s call on the president to resume negotiations.
The increase in protests are further deteriorating the position of the government, which has received no support from foreign allies and is further losing support in Congress.