Colombia police clashes with protesters

Friday, 18 March, 2016 - 11:15

Colombian police have clashed with striking protesters who were out on the streets of the capital Bogota to express their opposition to impending reforms to public services.

Some 15,000 people marched during a day of nationwide strike on Thursday to Bolivar Square in Bogota, where clashes erupted between police and protesters.

Riot police fired water cannon and yellow powder at the demonstrators who were throwing objects at police.

Teachers, students, pensioners, trade unionists, government employees and unemployed people walked out of their jobs across the country in the national strike organized by the General Confederation of Labor.
Riot policemen stand guard during a protest march in Bogota, on March 17, 2016 as part of a national strike. (©AFP)

The strike, viewed as the largest show of protest in the country so far this year, was in response to economic and social policies of President Juan Manuel Santos and his government’s planned reforms to public services that were promoted by Mayor Enrique Penalosa.

Critics believe the reforms will lead to privatization and worsen the city’s social infrastructure.

Local media reported that other reasons for the strike were lack of funds to public universities, increase in bus fares, growing food costs and low pensions.

Protesters also demanded an end to the country’s almost 50-year-long conflict between government and guerrilla fighters.

According to reports, some seven students were detained in Bogota before the strike began. The arrests were made at the National University of Colombia’s library.

Source: Press TV