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Colombia deploys military to Cali as protester death toll mounts

Colombian President Ivan Duque has deployed military troops to the western province of Valle del Cauca and its capital, Cali, after four people died in protests that marked a month of anti-government demonstrations.

 

The four died in and around Cali on Friday as tens of thousands marched across the country in the latest of demonstrations that started on April 28 to oppose a tax reform but have since expanded to include wide-ranging demands.

Talks between the government and the protest leaders, including union leaders who have formed a national strike committee, have stalled.

 

The new toll brings to 49 the deaths officially reported to date, but the Human Rights Watch puts the tally at 63.

 

Amid the unrest, Duque chaired a security meeting in the city of Cali and addressed the public in a televised message.

 

“From tonight begins the maximum deployment of military assistance to the national police in Cali and the province of Valle,” he said, describing the decision as one that was made to stop “vandalism, unrest” and to protect the “people’s peace”, as well as to protect “strategic assets” in Colombia.

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