Protesters throughout Colombia’s major cities have taken to the streets demanding their voices be heard.
Throughout Colombia’s largest cities such as Bogota, Medellin and Cali, various marches have commenced on Thursday protesting that the government listen to what they have to say on various matters of education, health, and human rights.
The streets of the capital Bogota were blocked in the first hours of the morning on Thursday due to a march of approximately 200 students from the government-run technical institute SENA, reported Caracol Radio.
Protesters marched in rejection of the government’s recent tax reform which would modify funding to SENA, leaving them without an alleged reception of nearly $835 million.
Transport authorities also reported that another group of 300 SENA students were marching in a different part of the city, however Bogota’s mass-transit system Transmilenio was allegedly not affected by the demonstrations.
The march follows riots that occurred Wednesday outside the National University when Bogota students were allegedly protesting the idea of the government privatizing Colombia’s public universities.
Meanwhile in Colombia’s second city Medellin, workers, unions, students, and faculty workers took to the streets to demand better conditions. They protested for better quality education, called on the government for better working conditions, and to voice their rejection of tax and pension reforms, reported El Colombiano.
Medellin students began the march downtown at 10:30AM at the Metropolitan Institute of Technology (ITM), heading to the National University, and moving later to the University of Antioquia.
A vigilante group told Colombia Reports that they were “protesting for education, health, and human rights.”
Communist banners showing the faces of Che Guevara and Jose Marti filled the streets while police on horses watched from afar, observant of the demonstrations but ultimately not oppressive.
Though the demonstrations were relatively peaceful, there was still an understated presence of police in the area. After seeing more violent riots occur the past few days in Medellin, it is not surprising that authorities would make it known that they were watching.
Local police have been on high alert after 39 people were arrested on Monday, and demonstrations continued on Tuesday. Medellin’s downtown area was transformed into scenes of chaos as angry street vendors took to the streets in protest, before engaging in violent clashes with police.
Protests were also seen Thursday in Colombia’s third largest city Cali when at least three marches and various road blocks occurred according to newspaper El Pais.
More than 200 people took part marching throughout the city and blocking roads while they asked for support among the community in face of their complicated situation.
Cali’s System of Mass Transit (MIO) was unable to move due to the grand congestion of passengers who have been unable to travel to their workplaces or schools because of the protests.
Bus drivers have been protesting against MIO since mid-August, the complaints instigated by the imminent departure of at least 20 public transport companies by the first of November.
Police commander Colonel Nelson Rincon said Thursday that people caught in acts of vandalism or blocking streets of MIO would be tried.
Among transportation protests, SENA students allegedly also took to the streets of Cali, adding to the nation-wide frustration of citizens who demand to be heard and responded to.