Colombia's National Strike Committee Friday (CNP) decided that protests will continue in light of the negative response from the Government of President Iván Duque, although some progress regarding police repression is on the verge of being achieved.
The opposition groups agreed to stage the next sit-ins on Monday and Tuesday in Bogotá at 2:00 p.m. local time, in the Plaza de Bolívar, when the plenary sessions of the Senate and the House of Representatives are called.
The Senate will debate on Monday a motion of censure Defense Minister Diego Molano after numerous complaints about violence towards peaceful mobilizations which has leftover 40 dead.
Other protests will be staged at Cali and the Cauca Valley region.
After a meeting Friday which lasted 17 hours, the Government issued Decree 3/2021 whereby security forced must comply with principles such as proportionality and legitimate use of force and differentiation, which separates who manifests peacefully from who exerts violence.
Union leader Francisco Maltés, one of the members of the Strike Committee Friday explained that some sort of protocol was being drafted to guarantee “the rights of the protesters” during mobilizations and only after that is achieved can negotiations on other matters proceed. The enactment of such a tool had been one of the demands of the CNP.
Demonstrations began on April 28, initially due to a tax reform that was later withdrawn by the Government and later against the militarization of the streets and the fierce repression against protesters.
For most Senators, the arrests of protesters violated all national and international norms regarding deprivation of liberty, because many were made without a legal reason to proceed and ”the established procedures, particularly the duty to bring those detained before the competent judicial authorities.” Hence, a motion of censure against Molano who might lose his job next week.
A Duque administration already weakened by the protests has already made several concessions: it withdrew the tax reform, changed two ministers, shelved the health reform and now sat at a table in search of an agreement that guarantees the protests.
In the midst of this convulsed situation, Duque made a new move by appointing 31-year-old Angélica Mayolo as the new Minister of Culture, replacing Felipe Buitrago, who lasted just five months in office. Mayolo is said to have a background in working with vulnerable sectors and is seen as a possible key figure in future negotiations.