Three Police Officers Killed in Colombia Bomb Blast Amid Renewed Anti-Government Protests

Three officers were killed in a bomb blast late Friday at a police station in southwestern Colombia as thousands gathered across the country for renewed protests of President Ivan Duque’s government.

Ten officers were also injured in the explosion, which occurred in the town of Santander de Quilichao in Cauca province, a hot spot for drug trafficking, police officials said.

No group took immediate responsibility for the explosion.

The explosion came a day after three people were killed in Valle del Cauca province when a protest there grew violent and led to looting.

Demonstrations were called across the country this week to protest government corruption and the murder of human rights activists.

Thousands gathered on Friday afternoon in Bogotá, the capital, for a “cacerolazo,” a traditional Latin American expression of protest in which people bang on pots and pans.

The authorities dispersed the crowd with tear gas, although some protesters regrouped to block roads and intersections.

A 9 p.m. curfew is in force across most of Bogotá.

Posts on social media and callers into radio stations said that people were organizing to protect homes from looters, while officials urged the public to remain calm.

Mr. Duque said in a televised address on Friday night that some Colombians were taking advantage of the protests to “sow chaos.”

He said he wanted to start “a national conversation” and would work to “close social gaps” and fight corruption.

The Colombia protests have coincided with demonstrations elsewhere in Latin America, including anti-austerity marches in Chile; protests over vote-tampering allegations in Bolivia that led President Evo Morales to resign; and inflamed tensions in Ecuador and Nicaragua.

SOURCE: Reuters