Colombia to ‘Modernize’ Police After Protest Violence Criticism

6/8/2021

Colombian President Ivan Duque has announced plans to “modernize” the country’s police force, including providing human rights training and increased oversight for officers, as his government faces criticism over the use of force against protesters.

Anti-government demonstrations have taken place across Colombia since late April, when thousands poured into the streets against a now-withdrawn tax reform proposal that critics said would disproportionately harm the middle and working classes.

Huge rallies have continued, with protesters expanding their list of demands to include health and educational reforms, among other things—while violence has escalated, especially in the city of Cali, the protest movement’s epicenter.

Duque said his government would ask Congress to approve the creation of a police human rights directorate, which will seek international help on policy, and a new education directorate for officer training.

The government is also working on a law to establish legitimate use of force criteria and another to regulate the use and sale of less-lethal weapons, Duque said.

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Aljazeera