Thousands of workers and students gathered to hold marches and rallies across Colombia on Thursday, November 19, to protest against the government of Iván Duque. The protests were associated with a 24-hour nationwide strike on Thursday. Participants were demanding improvements to healthcare, assistance for small businesses, and a basic wage for the unemployed. They also called for more protection for rural communities amid rising violence linked to illegal armed groups vying for control of drug-trafficking operations. The protests were reportedly largely peaceful and participants attempted to respect social distancing requirements, including the use of face masks.
Further protests are planned in Bogota, Barranquilla, and Manizales on Saturday, November 21. A heightened security presence and localized disruptions to transport are likely in the vicinity of these demonstrations.
Several unions and civil society groups have been organizing nationwide protests and strikes since November 2019 to protest the policies of President Iván Duque's administration, including the alleged support of unpopular economic plans and the perceived lack of government action to counter killings of human rights activists and rein in corruption.
Those in Colombia are advised to monitor the situation, avoid the vicinity of any protests as a precaution, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.
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