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Colombia union refused to back down from protests

UNIONS and student groups from Colombia’s National Strike Committee will be taking to the streets tomorrow despite the government’s attempt to deter them by imposing talks.

The head of the Central Union of Workers (CUT) rejected President Ivan Duque’s proposal for the group to call off the protests today.

CUT president Diogenes Orjuela said: “The strike will not be reversed. We don’t agree with the conditions the government is proposing but we are willing to dialogue and make all the explorations possible.

“We are not going to suspend the strike. The order to strike tomorrow is maintained,” he said, before participating in a meeting between the committee and the government.

CUT is the country’s main union federation with over 500,000 members.

The committee has made 13 demands to the government, including that it reject a rise in the pension age and a cut in the minimum wage for young people.

Hundreds of thousands of Colombians have taken part in protests over the last two weeks against the government’s tax reform proposals.

Five people have died in connection with the demonstrations, including a young man killed by homemade explosives in Medellin on Monday during a protest at a public university.

Indigenous people and artists from the District University took the lead on the 11th day of peaceful protests in Bogota on Sunday with thousands of others joining.

Protesters carried the red and green flags of the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca through Park Way in the capital.

District University professor Monica Rocha performed her song We are Artists, Not Terrorists, which she composed after the police attacked protesters with gas at an earlier protest.

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