Social organizations throughout Colombia are preparing the resumption of anti-government protests as talks with the government are set to resume.
Following a meeting on Monday, the organizers of a national strike that triggered the protests in November last year told press they endorsed online calls to massively bang on pots and pans on Tuesday in support of the country’s social leaders.
We agreed to hold a simultaneous “cacerolazo” in all the cities of Colombia starting at 5PM, to express our rejection of the assassination of social leaders and also of the illegal interceptions that the Army has been making for so long.
The representatives of students, farmers, labor unions and ethnic minorities are set to meet with emissaries of President Ivan Duque on Sunday in an attempt to convince the government to negotiate demands for far-reaching economic and peace policy changes.
Regional strike committees and social organizations will begin meetings on Wednesday and travel to the capital on the 30th to coordinate a response to the government’s refusal to negotiate, labor union leader Diogenes Orjuela told press.
The security forces initially tried to violently clamp down on peaceful protests, but failed. Since then, the government has been holding off negotiations while pushing through broadly rejected policy proposals.
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All the while, the government has tried to stigmatize the protests and dismiss the validity of the strike leaders demands with adverse effect.
Duque’s approval rating sunk to a record low in December, partly over the government’s response to the protests that were the largest in more than four decades.
Many of the police commanders who tried to violently suppress the protests have been replaced by mayors who dealt Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party a major blow in elections in October last year and took office on January 1.
A Bogota court agreed to study a petition to limit the government’s ability to use force against peaceful protests, a spokesperson of human rights organization Defender la Libertad Asunto de Todos (Defending Liberty Everybody’s Business) told Colombia Reports on Tuesday.