Colombian President Ivan Duque has met with political opponents and expressed more hope than his opponents on what happened to reduce the week-long protests that are common and sometimes deadly.
“We had a fruitful meeting with a coalition of hope, a great opportunity to discuss, address differences and not write political ideologies,” Duque wrote on television on Friday, referring to the political party.
But protesters said Duque needed to work harder to tackle poverty, unemployment and police violence.
The group “spoke with President Ivan Duque as critics and we left as critics,” said Jorge Robledo, a Dignity cinematographer in Colombia.
“We expressed our views and he also expressed his views.”
He urged Duque to meet with organizers of the protests.
Peace marches took place in Bogota and Medellin, where roadblocks across the country reduced food supply, causing some prices to rise.
Restricting food and other items, such as air, is not appropriate, says Duque.
“Yes in negotiations … but not at roadblocks,” he told reporters. They do not live in peace because they violate the rights of others. ”
‘A two-dimensional government’
The government is set to meet on Monday with an international protest committee – made up of organizations and groups – but says it wants to hold the summit soon.
The protests began last week in the Andes and were marred by plans to raise sales taxes. This view was overturned but the demands of the opposition now include the starting costs and the removal of the long-running crisis that opponents have argued is absurd in order to resolve inequality.
A human rights activist said 26 people had been killed since the protests began, but said seven had not been involved in the protests. The human rights group Human Rights Watch has reported the deaths of 36 people and called police violence “dangerous”.
The Armed Forces Act said on Thursday that a senior judge had been arrested for murder in connection with the death of an opponent last week.
Religious groups are skeptical of the Duque talks, saying similar talks achieved less than the 2019 demonstrations.
The government needs to address police violence, says Congressman for Green Party, Katherine Miranda.
“Government is two-dimensional. During the day, it talks and reconciles, but at night, it only shows oppression, “he told Reuters.
One of the demands of the protests is to remove the riot police ESMAD, which the Duque banned.
“The protests will continue as long as there is no dialogue,” Francisco Maltes, President of the Central Union of Workers (CUT), said in a video this week.
Some Colombians encouraged the protests.
“The time when the government decided to stop [the tax reform], the prestigious victory should be announced, “Gustavo Petro, a left-wing senator and possibly hopeful for the presidency in 2022, told Blu Radio on Friday.
“Right now, there are no clear intentions,” he said.
Poverty and unemployment increased during the closure of coronaviruses, exacerbating social unrest. About half of Colombia’s 50 million people were living in poverty by the end of 2020, according to government figures.
Speeches provide an opportunity for progress, says Edward Rodriguez, head of the Duque party at the Democratic Center.
“Success in conversation depends on listening to everyone,” Rodriguez said. “And it brings the point to the public.”
Voters should be dissatisfied with the ballot box in 2022, Miranda of the Green Party added, predicting, “There will be a change in the system in this country. [of government]. ”
Duque will not compete next year, but continuing protests could hurt the prospects of his party candidates.
The protests are “not in favor of the government, its party, or its elections in 2022,” said Colombian analyst Sergio Guzman, of Colombia Risk Analysis.