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17 Mar 2020 | 11:08 PM UTC

Colombia: Unions confirm March 25 nationwide strike /update 24

Unions and student groups continue to call for a nationwide strike on March 25 but cancel plans for mass gatherings due to coronavirus; associated business disruptions expected

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COL

Event

Labor unions and student organizations are continuing to call for a 24-hour nationwide strike on Wednesday, March 25, to protest the social and economic policies of President Ivan Duque. On Friday, March 13, organizers announced that associated mass gatherings would be suspended due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. However, supporters are still being asked to bang pots and pans every two hours from 08:00 until 20:00 (local time) and to gather in small groups if possible.

Further industrial actions are likely over the coming months if an agreement is not reached between the unions and the government.

Context

The Colombian government is prohibiting gatherings of over 500 people due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Several unions and civil society groups have been organizing nationwide protests and strikes since November 21 to protest the policies of President Iván Duque's administration, including the alleged support of unpopular economic plans and the perceived lack of government action to counter killings of human rights activists and rein in corruption. Heightened security measures were previously approved across Colombia in anticipation of the protests, permitting local authorities to implement curfews and restrict civilian movement.

Advice

Individuals in Colombia, and in Bogotá in particular, are advised to avoid all protests as a precaution, monitor the situation, and obey instructions issued by local authorities.