Colombians march in Madrid to support protests in their homeland

Colombians march in Madrid to support protests in their homeland


Thousands of Colombians living in Madrid marched on Saturday (May 15) to protest against the Colombian government under President Ivan Duque and the police violence used to suppress street protests in the Andean country.

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Thousands of Colombians living in Madrid marched on Saturday (May 15) to protest against the Colombian government under President Ivan Duque and the police violence used to suppress street protests in the Andean country.

The protesters waved Colombian flags and sang slogans to demand solidarity with their people. Colombians took Madrid’s Gran Via street and walked for hours.

“We want to support all of our people in Colombia who are mistreated and murdered because they fight for fundamental rights,” said 52-year-old Colombian Maria Eugenia Rojas, who has lived in Madrid for 14 years.

Demosnstartions in Colombia started last week. They were fueled by outrage over the government’s plan to increase sales taxes. This proposal has been canceled, but the protesters’ demands now include a basic income and the withdrawal of a long-debated health care reform that opponents believe is too vague to correct inequalities.

Protesters who originally called for demonstrations against a tax plan that has since been canceled have expanded their demands to include a basic income, an end to police violence, education and jobs for young people.

The death toll from protests is controversial. The Human Rights Ombudsman is investigating 41 civilian deaths, while the Attorney General’s Office has confirmed 14.

Colombians are the largest group of Latin American immigrants in Spain, where 63,762 are registered. Many fear for their families and loved ones at home.

(With contributions from agencies)

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