President Iván Duque of Colombia said he would withdraw a plan to overhaul the tax system to plug a fiscal shortfall caused by the pandemic after at least 17 people were killed and hundreds injured in protests against his plan. The finance minister said he would resign on Monday.
But the decisions have done little to quell public anger, and the protests have morphed into a national outcry over rising poverty, unemployment and inequality sparked by the arrival of the coronavirus last year.
Videos of police officers responding to protesters with violent force have exacerbated longstanding outrage over police abuse.
“They have pushed us to hunger,” said Natalia Arévalo, 29, speaking in the streets of Bogotá. “And now they want to take the little we have left.”
On Monday, protests persisted in several major cities.
At least 16 civilians and one police officer have died, according to the national ombudsman.
The protests come just as the country is experiencing its deadliest moment of the pandemic, and in the last week has had one of the highest per capita death tolls in the world, according to a New York Times database that tracks deaths and infections.