Third general strike keeps pressure on Colombia’s Duque

BOGOTA (AFP) -Thousands of protesters took part in anti-government demonstrations in Colombia’s capital Bogota and other cities on Wednesday during the country’s third general strike in two weeks.

Strike leaders said they intend to maintain pressure on right-wing President Ivan Duque’s government, after brushing aside his appeals to cancel the strike on the grounds its effects were crippling the economy.

But crowds were smaller than previous demonstrations as protests took place for a 14th consecutive day.

Some roads were blocked in the capital and in the northeastern city of Cali, but many businesses remained open.

Around 250,000 people took part in the first demonstration against Duque’s 15-month-old government on November 21, when the initial general strike brought the country to a standstill.

Interior Minister Nancy Patricia Gutierrez estimated that 40,000 people took part in demonstrations across the country on Wednesday, but organizers said the number of participants was much higher.

“The Colombian people have woken up!” shouted Paola Jiminez, a 41-year-old lawyer taking part in a pot-banging “cacerolazo” demonstration in Bogota.

“Colombians are finding it more and more difficult financially,” she said.

Anti-government demonstrators shout slogans during a national strike in Bogota, Colombia. PHOTO: AP