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Montevideo, June 13th 2024 - 00:15 UTC



Thousands march in Colombia against Petro

Monday, April 22nd 2024 - 12:34 UTC
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The President plans to nationalize the country's healthcare system and reform the Constitution to stay in power The President plans to nationalize the country's healthcare system and reform the Constitution to stay in power

Scores of Colombians marched Sunday through the streets of Bogotá and other main cities nationwide to protest against the leftwing administration of President Gustavo Petro, particularly regarding healthcare and a planned reform to the Constitution so that the current head of state may remain on the job after his current term.

Dubbed the “March of the white coats,” the demonstration was called for by the Colombian Association of Surgery and later by the Colombian Association of Scientific Societies (ACSC) representing 69 medical organizations.

The protesters donned Colombian national team jerseys or white clothing in the style of healthcare practitioners. They used umbrellas to shelter from the scorching sun and sang the national anthem along their way.

Former Vice President Germán Vargas Lleras (2014-2017) called on people to take to the streets ahead of Petro's constitutional reform plans that would amount to a “coup d'état.”

”In my opinion, there is nothing left for him (Petro) but the path of a call by emergency decree or internal commotion to a constituent assembly that gathers the 'feeling of the people',“ Vargas Lleras posted on his social networks.

Lorry drivers also flocked to downtown Bogotá blowing their horns to express their rejection of the fuel price increase and Petro's construction and coal production policies. ”No to the rise in fuel prices,“ read their banners.

Sunday's was one of the largest demonstrations against Petro because it was focused on the government's involvement in the healthcare system. On April 2, a day before the controversial bill to reform the health system was defeated in the Senate, the Government bailed healthcare providers Sanitas out of their financial plight. The medical insurance company has 5.7 million subscribers. The measure was regarded as a step toward nationalizing the healthcare service.

According to pollsters Invamer, Petro has a 60% disapproval rating and has been losing support from political forces in Congress.

”The Government gave guarantees to the citizens so that they could go out to protest,“ Interior Minister Luis Fernando Velazco said. ”We recognize the good tone of the marches”.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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