Dozens of Colombian roads still blocked amid anti-government protests

Road blockades connected to weeks of anti-government protests in Colombia, which have caused food and gasoline shortages and stymied exports, are still in place around the country on Thursday despite a recent presidential order to clear them.

Blockades have been mounted by local protesters calling for policy reforms, striking truckers and others. The government says cutting off people from freedom of movement is a crime.

President Ivan Duque earlier this week ordered security forces to move blockades, but the national police said as of noon there were 62 protests taking place and still 43 blockades erected in 17 of Colombia’s 32 provinces. Most affected are roads in the southwestern provinces of Huila, Valle del Cauca and Cauca.

The sometimes-deadly demonstrations were originally called in late April against a now-canceled plan to hike taxes, but have expanded to include demands like an end to police violence, opportunities for young people and a basic income.

In response to the protests, lawmakers shelved a health reform opposed by many demonstrating in the streets.

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