Latin America & Caribbean

Colombians turn out in memory of dead protester Dilan Cruz

People march in an anti-government protest in Bogota on 27 November, 2019 Image copyright AFP
Image caption There have been seven consecutive days of anti-government protests

Tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of the Colombian capital, Bogotá, in memory of a teenage protester who died on Monday.

Dilan Cruz was hit by a projectile fired by riot police during an anti-government protest on Saturday.

His death has caused outrage and further fanned anger at the government of President Iván Duque.

The president has been meeting protest leaders this week to attempt to put an end to the disruption.

Many of the protesters denounced the Esmad, the riot police squad which fired the projectile which hit Mr Cruz. Others said the Colombian state was "a killer" because of what happened to the 18-year-old student.

A demonstrator with the words "victim of the Esmad" written on her mask takes part in a march against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque Image copyright AFP
A man with a mask stands before a placard reading "murderer" Image copyright AFP

The protests started a week ago when trade unions and student groups convened a march attended by a quarter of a million people.

Their demands are wide-ranging and include calls for the government to drop a proposed tax reform and a thorough implementation of the peace agreement signed with left-wing Farc rebels in 2016.

Since the death of Mr Cruz, protesters have added the demand for the dissolution of the riot police force Esmad to their demands.

The protest was not confined to the capital. There were also marches in Cali and other Colombian cities.

A demonstrator holding a poster of the late Dilan Cruz shouts at riot police during a march against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque during a national strike in Cali on November 27, 2019 Image copyright AFP

Many of those taking part in rallies on Wednesday were young people demanding better access to education and employment.

"I'm marching so we 21 year olds can have the chance of a good job," Jean Carlo Hernandez told Reuters news agency. "Dilan could have been me. We're facing a government that doesn't want to help young people move ahead even though we're the future," he added.

A woman hits a pan during a protest in Bogota on 27 November 2019 Image copyright Reuters

The marches of Wednesday were largely peaceful with members of the conservatory of music of the National University taking part playing their instruments while aerial artists and breakdancers also joined in.

A musician of the conservatory of the National University of Colombia plays the violin with her face painted that reads "peace" during protests and a national strike against the government of President Ivan Duque on November 27, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia Image copyright Getty Images
Musicians of the conservatory of the National University of Colombia play their instruments during a protest in Bogota, Colombia Image copyright Getty Images
An artist performs during a protest against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque in Bogota on 27 November, 2019 Image copyright AFP
Youngsters dance during a protest against the government of Colombian President Ivan Duque during a national strike in Bogota on November 27, 2019 Image copyright AFP

After meeting protest leaders on Tuesday, President Duque ruled out the dissolution of the riot squad, arguing it formed a key part of the security forces.

But the president said he shared protesters' urgency to get anti-corruption legislation passed.

A woman holds a puppet during a protest as a national strike continues in Bogota, Colombia, November 27, 2019 Image copyright Reuters

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