The Latest: Colombia president opens ‘national conversation’

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A boy walks past a bus station damaged by anti-government demonstrators, in Bogota, Colombia, Friday, Nov. 22, 2019. Protesters attacked the station Thursday during a nationwide strike called by labor unions, students and teachers to protest everything from economic inequality to violence against social leaders. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

BOGOTA – The Latest on protests in Colombia (all times local):

7:10 p.m.

Colombian President Iván Duque says his government will open a “national conversation” aimed at reaching an agreement on reforms following massive demonstrations that have paralyzed much of the capital city.

In a televised address Friday, Duque said the dialogue will include all social sectors and take place in cities around the country starting next week.

The president also announced that he is boosting police and military patrols in focal points where there is continuing unrest.

Protesters clashed with police in several parts of Bogota on Friday, a day after tens of thousands of frustrated citizens took to the streets.


6:23 p.m.

Colombian President Iván Duque has ordered a curfew in the nation’s capital amid continuing unrest following a massive march.

The president announced on Twitter that he has requested that Bogota’s mayor enforce a curfew beginning at 9 p.m. in all of the city.

The curfew comes one day after an estimated 250,000 people took to the streets in one of the nation’s biggest marches in recent history.

There have been scattered clashes between protesters and police on Friday.


4 p.m.

Volunteers wiped graffiti off historic buildings and swept up shattered glass at looted businesses in Colombia Friday amid sporadic unrest following massive national protests a day before.

Labor unions and student leaders called on Colombians to bang pots and pans Friday evening in another act of protest while authorities announced three people had died in overnight clashes with police.

Protest organizers urged President Iván Duque to establish a dialogue with indigenous, student and labor groups to discuss potential reforms and criticized him for not directly addressing demonstrator complaints in a late-night address.

“If they don’t decide to govern in favor of the majority, the discontent will continue accumulating,” student leader José Cárdenas said.

Officials estimated 250,000 protesters marched in protests around Colombia, largely peaceful demonstrations that ended with scattered confrontations between police and protesters who vandalized bus stations and looted businesses.

The upheaval comes as Latin America is experiencing a tide of discontent, with massive demonstrations in countries including Chile, Bolivia and Ecuador where citizens frustrated with their political leaders are taking to the streets.