Students and workers in Colombia have taken the streets this week to protest against a tax reform proposal by President Ivan Duque’s government.
The proposed tax reform, according to Reuters, “would increase taxes on individuals and businesses and eliminate many exemptions, and was originally meant to raise about $6 billion, equivalent to 2% of gross domestic product (GDP).” The government also suggested expanding items subject to value-added tax.
As a result, peaceful demonstrations took place around the country, especially in Bogotá, Cali, and Medellín. They eventually turned violent, with many police and civilians were injured, and others arrested for alleged vandalism.
“We are asking President Duque to withdraw the tax reform,” Francisco Maltes, president of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) said during a press conference amid the protests.
On social media, a wave of Colombian artists expressed their concerns.
“It hurts me a lot even though I’m not there,” said Maluma in a video. “I don’t agree with the tax reform because it directly affects my family and it affects me,” he said, also disagreeing with the dangerous protests taking place in the South American country. “That’s not the way! There are ways to protest, and the best way is peaceful.”
J Balvin agreed, sharing a photo with the following caption: “I say no to the tax reform and also no to the vandalism of those who take advantage of the demonstrations to hurt, steal or destroy. The priority today must be everyone’s health. We are in a pandemic, we need to save lives!!!”
Responding to the protests, the government could lower the targeted fundraising sum to as low as $4.8 billion to gain lawmaker approval, as noted by finance official Juan Alberto Londono.