At least forty-two people have died and 168 have disappeared so far in Colombian protests that began on April 28 over a disputed tax reform, the ombudsman office in Bogota said. Twenty-four deaths were reported on May 5, according to which more than 1,500 people were already injured.
Protests, which began over a tax reform bill that has since been withdrawn, will continue on Wednesday against planned health care reform, police violence and general insecurity. The center of the protests, which has been going on for about two weeks, remains in Cali, the third most populous city in northwestern Colombia.
Although most of the protests are peaceful, there are also violent movements that the government says are illegal groups, including the Marxist militia, which calls itself the National Liberation Army (ELN), and the far-left Guerrilla Revolutionary Armed Forces (FARC).
The Cabinet is forced to reform the tax system in order to reduce the budget deficit caused by the coronavirus epidemic. Among other things, it wanted to reduce tax breaks, increase personal income tax for certain groups, and abolish the VAT exemption for certain goods and services, MTI reported.