Colombia’s president reverses a tax increase; 19 protesters are killed in demonstrations

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Colombian President Ivan Duque has removed a national tax hike after more than a dozen people were killed during days of demonstrations.

Duque announced the decision to withdraw the proposal in a video message on Sunday after he previously pledged Friday to remove some of the most controversial provisions of the bill following protests that began last week.

“I am asking Congress to withdraw the law proposed by the finance ministry and urgently process a new law that is the fruit of consensus, in order to avoid financial uncertainty,” he said.

On Monday, Colombia’s finance minister Alberto Carrasquilla announced his resignation.

The government would have raised taxes on those making more than $656 a month, lowered the tax rate, removed main deductions, and extended the amount of products subject to a value added tax under the initial plan.

According to reports from Johns Hopkins University, Colombia is seeing a COVID-19 surge, with 2,905,254 people infected and 75,164 killed as a result of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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Protests against the measure started on Wednesday, and at least 18 people and one police officer have died as riot police used tear gas against protesters, according to the country’s ombudsman.

According to national police, 540 officers were injured during the demonstrations, and more than 100 buses were vandalised or burnt.

 

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