Thousands protest against Petro’s reforms in Colombia

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Thousands of anti-government demonstrators marched through Colombia’s major cities on Tuesday to protest the economic and social reforms pushed by the government of leftist President Gustavo Petro.

The protests were the opposition’s response to marches that Petro called earlier this month, where he asked Congress to approve his proposed reforms.

Opponents to Petro’s pension reforms argue they could negatively impact Colombia’s finances and hurt job creation.

A crowd of some 5,000 people marched through capital Bogota on Tuesday according to local authorities, where some protesters carried banners emblazoned with slogans such as “No more Petro” and “Petro out.”

“This is a manifestation of popular discontent because you cannot destroy what has been done in more than 50 years and worse still, with resentment,” economist Yesid Garzon said in Bogota while protesting.

Peaceful protests also took place in cities including Medellin, Cali, Barranquilla and Bucaramanga, according to police.

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“Our greatest duty is to protect them, so that nothing happens to any protester. That’s the expression of the spirit of democracy, that people can express what they want … against the same government without anything untoward happening,” Petro said during a police ceremony earlier on Tuesday.

Petro, who took office last August as Colombia’s first left-wing president, won election on promises to cut poverty and inequality and also roll out a policy of “total peace” to end the country’s almost six decades of armed conflict which has killed at least 450,000 people.

Petro is facing an uphill battle in Congress to push labor, health, and pension reforms after his majority coalition disintegrated due to the government’s refusal to make changes to the proposals.

He has recently been caught up in a scandal over accusations of alleged illegal financing during his election campaign, which he denies.


Source Reuters 
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