Gustavo Petro
Gustavo Petro is himself a former urban guerrilla and Colombia's first-ever leftist president. Photo by: AFP/Daniel Munoz

Thousands of Colombians marched through major cities in the country Wednesday to show their anger toward President Gustavo Petro's supported political, economic and social reforms, while urging the government to address worsening security conditions.

Petro took over the office in 2022 after campaigning to fight against poverty and inequality, while ending six decades of ongoing internal conflict in the country, which had caused the death of at least 450,000 people.

The Petro-led administration's key proposals -- focusing on reforms in health, pensions, the labor system and education -- have encountered strong resistance both in Congress as well as from the opposition.

In the country's capital Bogota, protesters were seen chanting phrases like "No more Petro!" and "Petro, out!" during the demonstration with flags and placards.

Congressman Miguel Polo Polo at the march said, "They are disastrous reforms for our country that are going to lead Colombia into a hole that is why we are here," as per Reuters.

Clara Prieto, a protester who wore the country's flag as a dress, said, "This corrupt government promised change and deceived all Colombians."

According to the police, there were around 52,000 protesters, who peacefully marched in cities like Medellin and Cali aside from the capital Bogota.

Petro, on the other hand, defended the reforms stressing that it would benefit the poor people of the country. He also spoke about the protest Wednesday, saying these were the privileged people, who don't want to lose their privileges.

"There will always be those coming from privilege who do not want to lose," Petro said during a government event in Bogota.

Videos of the protesters surfaced on X, formerly known as Twitter.

The protest came a few weeks after the finance ministry said Colombia secured multiple loan agreements worth more than $1.2 billion, which will be used for budget items this year alongside taking care of costs that come with peace plans.

As far as internal conflict is concerned, the government announced a ceasefire with the FARC-EMC rebel group has been extended to facilitate peace talks and reduce violence, especially in the rural parts of Colombia.

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.