(Bloomberg) -- Colombia suffered more unrest Friday as anti-government protesters returned to the streets a day after mass disorder left three dead.
Crowds gathered outside congress for a second day as protest organizers called on people to keep up pressure on the nation’s unpopular president, Ivan Duque.
A crowd of student demonstrators gathered outside the Bogota stock exchange chanting “Down with Duque!” and “Long live the national strike!”
“We don’t want this to end after just one day, which would only be a mild warning for the government,” said Santiago Malagon, an advertising student. “We know that yesterday’s march was big, but we want to have greater repercussions.”
Unions said they’d convene another national demonstration Monday, and urged Colombians to bang pots and pans, a common form of protest in Latin America.
The government is hoping that the protests die down, while the organizers are trying to keep the momentum going. Groups are protesting a range of issues, including inequality, the government’s education and labor policies and unsolved murders of social leaders.
Elsewhere in the Andes, huge anti-government protests forced the governments of Ecuador and Chile to roll back austerity measures, while in Bolivia weeks of demonstrations helped force President Evo Morales to step down.
On Friday, masked youths fought with police in parts of Bogota, as well as in Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city. There were renewed outbreaks of looting and vandalism.
Thieves hijacked a city bus and used it to batter down the doors of a shuttered shop in the south of Bogota, allowing a mob of looters to enter, according to footage shown by Bogota-based newspaper El Espectador. The mayor’s office sent workers home early and banned alcohol sales, saying it knew of groups that wanted to cause disturbances.
On Thursday, more than quarter of a million Colombians took part in the nation’s biggest protests in years. The demonstrations started out peacefully, but degenerated into violence as protesters clashed with armored anti-riot units, broke into businesses, and blocked roads. Three protesters died in the Valle del Cauca department, and at least 170 police and civilians were injured, the Defense Ministry said.
In a national address late Thursday, Duque said his government “is listening” and pledged to work with all sectors of society in crafting a national agenda.
To contact the reporters on this story: Ezra Fieser in Bogota at email@example.com;Oscar Medina in Bogota at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Juan Pablo Spinetto at email@example.com, Matthew Bristow, Robert Jameson
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.