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Palm Beach County residents hold rallies following deadly protests in Colombia

25 people killed within 8 consecutive days of protests in South American country
Colombians living in Palm Beach County hold a rally in Palm Springs on May 4, 2021.
Posted at 4:43 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 17:29:32-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Widespread protests in Colombia that have killed more than 20 people and injured dozens are continuing for a second week.

The protest stems from a tax reform policy their government says would help solve the country's economic crisis.

Colombians who live in Palm Beach County have been coming together in recent days to rally against the unrest in their home country and show solidarity.

One rally was held at El Bodegon supermarket in Palm Springs on Tuesday night.

Jairo Cervantes and Carolina Julio, who both live in Lake Park, said it pains them to see it.

"We don't need to use violence to repress peaceful demonstrations," Cervantes said.

"People, help us and join because they are killing people every day in Colombia, and we can not accept that as a normality," Julio said.

The demonstrations were sparked by the Colombian president's attempt to pass a tax reform bill to raise taxes on essential items and public services. It was meant to close the gap of a pandemic-related economic shortfall.

The president has since dropped it, but now the protests have evolved into a larger movement focusing on fighting poverty and police brutality.

More than 50 people were injured Wednesday night and at least 25 people have died within eight consecutive days of protests.

"This government has sent to poverty more than three million people. Almost four million people live in poverty. It's something that the people in the streets say, 'no more.' The health system was collapsing. We have seen that in the pandemic," Cervantes said.

Many local Colombianos hope a change will happen soon and raises their voices here in South Florida will further the issue and dialogue.

"Consider maybe by raising our voices and socializing the conflict that is happening. We can contribute, and that is what we are trying to do," Cervantes said.

Local Colombians are planning to travel to Miami on Saturday to join a bigger rally, which is expected to take place at 1 p.m. at the Freedom Tower.