Colombia protests reach sixth day

BOGOTA, Colombia 

A sixth day of protests ended Tuesday in Colombia after a national strike Nov. 21.

Thousands gathered to protest government policies affecting taxes on the rich, retirement pension rights and not fighting corruption.

Protesters are also demonstrating in favor of an agreement between the government and FARC rebels in November 2016, that ended more than 50 years of conflict between the two sides.

Following the demobilization of the leftist rebel group, a political arm of FARC was established, which is represented in Congress.

The national strike claimed the life of Dilan Cruz, an 18-year-old student who was shot with an anti-riot police projectile Saturday in Bogota’s city center.

The death was recorded on mobiles phones and shared on social media where an official member of the Mobile Anti-Disturbances Squadron (ESMAD) shot Cruz in his head for apparently no clear reason.

President Ivan Duque said “it’s not correct to say that (the police) is a murderer.”

Cruz was taken to San Ignacio Hospital where he was placed in a comma but later died. Several strikers camped outside the hospital and blocked traffic.

In an interview with the FM broadcasting station, Duque offered sympathy for the death but he defended ESMAD.

“Those who work for Colombia deserve that we do not make a generalization, neither that politicians qualify ESMAD as a murderous body,” he said.

The National Strike Commission is formed by unions, students, peasants, and indigenous movements. Four other protesters aside from Dilan have died during protests.

* Busra Nur Bilgic Cakmak from Ankara contributed to this story
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