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Security & Strategic Review - July 2021

Duque’s police reform unlikely to satisfy protesters

Shaken by over five weeks of massive anti-government protests that have presented one of the biggest challenges of his presidency, on 6 June Colombia’s President Iván Duque offered his latest concession to the demonstrators, in the form of a proposed police reform. This comes as long-running anger at police brutality has reached its zenith, with the security forces facing a chorus of condemnation at home and abroad for their violent repression of demonstrators. The government’s olive branch was met with a lukewarm response and was slammed as “cosmetic” by the international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), but it does propose greater accountability for the police. Duque will face strong pressure to compromise and back more sweeping legislation proposed by the political opposition.

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