Thousands of Colombians took to the streets on Thursday in a nationwide protest against the government’s proposed healthcare reforms, reported Caracol radio.
Peaceful marches were held in Colombia’s major cities throughout the morning, with the largest concentration of protesters congregating in the country’s capital Bogota.
The western city of Cali also saw significant participation in the marches, with some 3,000 people – many of them medical workers and students – taking to the streets.
Protesters carried placards bearing slogans such as “Health is not a favor, it’s a right” and “Health is a right, not a business.”
This is in response to planned presidential decrees that are intended to overhaul the country’s struggling state-run health care system. Among the ten proposed reforms, one would require public hospitals to cut spending on their management and administrative branches, whilst another would mandate buying insurance against auto accidents.
The Colombian government reiterated that proposed measures would not be withdrawn and it will seek to justify the changes.