Fresh clashes in Colombia after nationwide protests leave three dead
Bogota - Fresh clashes erupted on Friday in the Colombian capital after a day of nationwide protests claimed three lives.
Several people were injured in Bogota, where police used tear gas and stun grenades against demonstrators armed with rocks, the national broadcaster Canal Uno reported.
Clashes were reported near the Portal de las Americas bus terminal, where a lack of buses sparked protests, and in another area in the city.
Thousands of Bogota residents were left without transport after protesters damaged about half of the city's Transmilenio bus stations on Thursday.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in 150 municipalities during Thursday's general strike, which was called by trade unions and civil society groups.
They opposed pension and labour reforms that are allegedly being planned by the government and demanded more funds for education, the end of corruption and stronger action against the killings of community leaders by armed groups.
The rallies were largely peaceful, but some of them turned violent.
Defence Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo said three people were killed in clashes with security forces in western Valle del Cauca department. The incidents are under investigation, the minister added.
Smaller protests continued on Friday in Bogota, where demonstrators held rallies, blocked streets and burned tyres.
Mayor Enrique Penalosa banned the sale of alcoholic drinks for 24 hours.
In the city of Cali, the situation appeared to be calming down after more than 500 people were arrested for violating an overnight curfew imposed by the local authorities.
Earlier, some Cali residents armed themselves with sticks and fire extinguishers to prevent protesters from looting their homes, broadcaster Caracol reported.
President Ivan Duque called his cabinet to an extraordinary session.
Duque had on Thursday blamed the violence on "vandalism" and "criminals" who would face "the full weight of the law."
Holmes Trujillo said that across the nation, a total of 151 members of the security forces and 122 civilians were injured on Thursday.
Police were watching 35 municipalities where violence could continue, the minister said.
The government fears Colombia could see similar violent protests to those in Bolivia, Chile and Ecuador, which have claimed dozens of lives over the past several weeks.dpa