The leaders of a national strike in Colombia on Saturday called for strikes and marches on Monday when congress is preparing to vote on a widely rejected tax reform.
Labor union leader Diogenes Orjuela said that unions, students and indigenous groups will organize another day of mass marches after persistent refusals by President Ivan Duque to negotiate demands.
The first national strike on November 21 triggered massive anti-government protests and has sunk Duque’s approval rating to a record low.
The Liberal Party, which initially supported the reform that includes massive corporate tax discounts, has already pulled its support in response to the protests.
The decisions of the other two parties of the center right voting bloc will decide the fate of the reform that is rejected by the majority of the population as well as economists.
The strike leaders hope to reignite the protests that have waned since Sunday last week when some of the country’s top musical acts organized a mass protest in the capital, Bogota.
The labor unions had previously indicated they would take it easy over the holiday season, but changed its position after another failed attempt to convince the government to negotiate.
We will be in the streets and we will continue with the marches… We are returning because the government has not changed its position at all.
Labor union leader Diogenes Orjuela
Opposition politicians are adding additional pressure by taking the security forces to court for violent attempts to repress the protests and other alleged crimes.
The strike leaders have a list of 13 demands that effectively seek a major shift in the government’s economic policy, and the implementation of peace policies agreed with leftist guerrilla group FARC and victims in a 2016 peace deal.
Duque’s far-right Democratic Center party fiercely rejects the peace process, but received a beating in local elections in October.
Rising unemployment rates, and persistently high levels of crime, corruption and political violence have swollen support for the strikes.