Thursday, 21 Oct 2021

Protestors hit by Molotov cocktails in violent Colombia riots with 800 injured

At least 17 people have died with police officers and demonstrators set on fire by molotov cocktails during five days of unrest in Colombia.

At least 800 people have been wounded as riot police clashed with protestors furious at a proposed tax reform across major cities in the South American country.

Violence has continued after President Iván Duque announced on Sunday that the controversial tax hikes on low-and-middle-income groups were being scrapped.

The casualty figures were made public by Colombia's office of the ombudsman which used data provided by the police and the attorney general's office.

A photo taken on Monday showed a demonstrator hit by a Molotov cocktail thrown during clashes with riot police officers in Cali.

Demonstrators were calling for a new mass rally after the death and injury toll was released.

Colombia's ombudsman, Carlos Camargo, told Caracol Radio that the figure of those killed could be higher than the 17 they have so far listed.

He said his office had received reports of 20 deaths but had not yet been able to verify all the reports.

Colombia's ombudsman's office is an official government agency tasked with overseeing the protection of citizens' human and civil rights.

Among those injured in the clashes were hundreds of police officers, according to the ombudsman's tally.

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At least five police officers were injured when they were struck by a Molotov cocktail during a protest in southern Colombia.

Several videos show the moment the cops, dressed in riot gear, were manning their post in front of a hotel in Pasto, Nariño, on Thursday night when they were set on fire by the incendiary device.

The agents suffered burned to their faces and hands, and were rushed to a local hospital for treatment.

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All but one of the officers remained hospitalised the following day due to second-degree burns.

Pasto Metropolitan Police colonel José Sánchez said the injured cops were assigned to the Mobile Anti-Riot Squad and showed restraint despite being attacked with objects moments before the bomb attack.

'These guys were there, they did not use force and they were cornered, subjected to blows with stones, with clubs and they still threw fire at these uniformed men,' Sánchez said.

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A $2,600 reward has been offered for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators.

The riot took place after most of the protesters had headed home due to an 8pm local time curfew that was imposed by the state of Nariño. The lockdown was lifted at 5am on Friday.

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