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Latino Daily News

Saturday October 13, 2012

Hundreds of Thousands of Colombians Protest Inequality Across Country

Hundreds of Thousands of Colombians Protest Inequality Across Country

Photo: Protests in Colombia

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Colombian counterparts of Spain’s “indignados” took to the streets of the Andean nation’s major cities on Friday to protest inequality.

The “Day of Dignity” events in Bogota included students participating in an apprenticeship program and judicial employees, who walked off the job Thursday to demand the government comply with a 20-year-old mandate to standardize their pay.

Protests were not confined to the cities, however, as residents mounted demonstrations in remote rural areas of provinces such as Putumayo, bordering Ecuador, and Norte de Santander, which sits on the border with Venezuela.

Around 300,000 people participated nationwide, David Florez, a spokesman for the leftist civic movement Marcha Patriotica, told Efe.

Marches and rallies took place in 25 of Colombia’s 32 provinces, according to Florez, whose group is among the 100 or so organizations behind the Day of Dignity.

Colombians, he said, are unhappy “with the model we have of an unequal country based on extraction” of natural resources.

Grassroots groups are also demanding “direct participation” in the peace process set to begin next week in Oslo between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, Florez said.

Colombia is the world’s 10th most-unequal country in terms of income distribution as measured by the Gini index, a metric used by the World Bank, United Nations and other international institutions.