Colombia used ‘excessive force’ against protesters, says human rights report

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An international human rights body has accused Colombia’s security forces of applying “disproportionate and excessive force,” in dealing with street protesters, more than two months since demonstrations began in Bogota, which left dozens dead.

The report by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), released on Wednesday, adds to criticisms of the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque, who has faced accusations of a heavy-handed crackdown since protests erupted on April 28.

The protests were sparked by a controversial tax overhaul Duque proposed as part of the country’s recovery from the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic. Critics argued the changes would hurt the middle class.

The tax reform has since been abandoned. But marches and demonstrations have only increased in scale and pace over a series of issues, including the country’s chronic income inequality and allegations of police brutality.

According to human rights organizations in Colombia, more than 70 people have been killed on the streets since the protest begun, they claim often at the hands of the Colombian security forces.

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