Colombian police deploy tear gas & water cannons to repel assault on parliament building amid anti-government protests (VIDEOS)

Rioters have attacked Colombia’s parliament during a demonstration in the country’s capital Bogota. A since-withdrawn unpopular tax reform plan triggered weeklong protests and clashes across the country.

Dozens broke through the perimeter fences during a massive rally at Bolivar Square in Bogota on Wednesday and stormed the building that houses both chambers of Colombia’s parliament, while lawmakers were in session. 

“Pacifistas” intentaron tomarse el Congreso… eso es violencia, vandalismo y terrorismo … esto no es derecho de nadie, ellos sólo quieren caos y destrucción…

— Paola Holguín 🇨🇴 (@PaolaHolguin) May 5, 2021

Police fired volleys of teargas and deployed water cannons to disperse the angry crowd. 

Here’s a moment demonstrators stormed the steps of the Colombian capitol building then were dispersed with tear gas and flash bang grenades

— Dylan Baddour (@DylanBaddour) May 5, 2021

Here was the scene as protesters clashed with riot police on the steps of the Colombian capitol building. The police showed markedly more restraint today in firing on the crowd, taking a hail of stones before clearing the plaza.

— Dylan Baddour (@DylanBaddour) May 5, 2021

Congress building in #Bogota #Colombia… it’s crazy to see this… #soscolombia

— Lago 🇨🇴 (@LagoxMilagros) May 6, 2021

Videos posted on social media show armored police vehicles rushing through the streets of Bogota. 

this happened in bogota, colombia today. the police are attacking and killing civilians!! Help us spread this #SOSColombiaNosEstanMatando

— alejandra (@lesbianaff) May 6, 2021

Here are armored police vehicles moving down the “main street” of Bogotá, firing flash bang grenades and tear gas to disperse an opposing crowd

— Dylan Baddour (@DylanBaddour) May 5, 2021

MP Juanita Goebertus tweeted that the session was suspended and lawmakers were evacuated when the crowd attacked the building. The session was later resumed. 

The protests, which were sparked by controversial tax reform and have been raging across the South American country since April 28, saw fierce clashes with police, arson and looting. 

NOW – The cities of #Bogota and #Medellín are in total chaos tonight as tensions in #Colombia

— 🚨 (@disclosetv) May 6, 2021

Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo was quoted by the Bogota Post as saying that the rioters vandalized 60 police facilities and several CAIs – small kiosk-type police stations – were set on fire in the capital. 

Police officer Juan Contreras told Caracol TV how he and 14 colleagues had to run for their lives when a group of rioters pelted their CAI with stones in Bogota’s La Aurora neighborhood and attempted to burn the structure down with the officers inside.

The activists, meanwhile, accuse the police of violently cracking down on the protests. A video circulating on social media shows what appears to be an officer firing several rounds at fleeing people. 

Policía disparando en Bogotá.

— Guerra Universitaria (@Gu2Hail) May 5, 2021

A leading human rights group, Temblores, said it has recorded 1,708 cases of police violence since the start of the protests. The NGO said 831 people were “arbitrarily detained,” 222 were physically assaulted, and 37 were killed. 

The Colombian Ombudsman’s Office reported different numbers on Wednesday, saying 24 were killed in recent days, out of which 11 deaths occurred at the protests, six were not connected to the rallies and seven were being investigated. Colombian Attorney

General Francisco Barbosa said the police were responsible for three out of the 11 deaths at the protests.

Ombudsman Carlos Camargo Asis added that his office received 89 reports about missing persons, and that 38 people had eventually been found.

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‘Stop the massacre’: Colombia tax protests continue after more than a dozen people DIE in clashes with police

The public was angered after the government proposed vastly expanding taxation – which would include applying the sales tax to more products – and eliminating many tax exemptions. By doing so authorities wanted to increase social spending and reduce the budget deficit. However, many were shocked by the drastic measures at a time when Colombian society is reeling from the economic crisis that was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.   

Colombian President Ivan Duque said on Sunday that he was withdrawing the unpopular reform and vowed to introduce a better solution based on the “principles of consensus.” Finance Minister Alberto Carrasquilla, who was responsible for the reform, has resigned. 

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Source:RT World News

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