A month after they first started, anti-government protests in Colombia show no signs of abating, with President Iván Duque deploying troops to the flashpoint city of Cali and the UN calling for an independent inquiry after allegations of police brutality and dozens of deaths.
What began on 28 April as limited demonstrations against a tax bill seen as particularly painful for Colombia’s working classes has escalated into much broader discontent at a range of underlying tensions and social inequalities exacerbated by pandemic lockdowns.
Police violence has further fuelled the demonstrations. On 28 May, Human Rights Watch said there had been “credible reports” of 63 protest-related deaths over the past month, while dozens more protesters have suffered eye injuries from rubber bullets or teargas rounds.
Days after government party Senator Paola Holguín told protesters to “stop crying over an eye”, Duque on 28 May announced the "maximum deployment of military assistance" to Cali and the surrounding Valle del Cauca region.
José Miguel Vivanco, Human Rights Watch’s Americas director, condemned the decision, warning that the militarised response could further inflame the situation.
Meanwhile, Michelle Bachelet, the UN‘s high commissioner for human rights, voiced “deep concern” over the reports of excessive violence and deaths in Cali and called for dialogue “to find a negotiated and peaceful solution to the social unrest through talks”.
Photojournalist Mariano Vimos has been covering the protests in the capital, Bogotá, where more demonstrations are planned. Here is a selection of his photos from the past month.
Additional reporting by Paula Dupraz-Dobias in Geneva.
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