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Colombia's independence day marked with protests against poverty and inequality

PROTESTS against poverty and inequality in Colombia resumed on the country’s independence day, with thousands joining marches in multiple cities.

The protests on Tuesday came as President Ivan Duque presented a $4 billion (£2.9bn) tax plan for social programmes and pandemic-related expenses.

The plan is smaller than a $6.3bn (£4.6bn) package that was presented in April, setting off huge protests across Colombia in which dozens of people were killed by authorities.

Mr Duque said that the new proposal places a higher tax burden on companies’ earnings while discarding a previous proposal to impose sales taxes on items like coffee and salt.

But protesters said that the new plan does not do enough to boost spending on education and job creation.

Colombia’s economy contracted 7 per cent last year, pushing an additional three million people into poverty, according to national statistics.

Central Union of Workers president Francisco Maltes said: “Protests continue because President Duque has not solved any of the problems faced by Colombian society.”

The union is part of a coalition of unions and student groups that plans to present congress with 10 proposals on addressing the social and economic crisis.

These proposals include dissolving the nation’s riot police and creating a basic income programme that would make monthly payments of $260 to 10 million people.

Currently, the government’s subsidy programme provides just $40 (£29.22) to 30 million families.

At Tuesday’s demonstrations, protesters also said they want justice for young people killed by police brutality.

Human Rights Watch says that it has gathered evidence linking police to the death of 25 protesters during the recent wave of demonstrations, while local organisations say the number could be higher.

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