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Soldiers on patrol in Cali after being deployed by President Duque. Photo: Gabriel Aponte/Vizzor Image/Getty Images

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Sunday called for investigations into the deaths of anti-government protesters in Cali, Colombia, following violent clashes between protesters and the military.

The state of play: Colombia recently entered its second month of anti-government protests, which were sparked by proposed tax reform but then widened into a social movement focused on poverty and inequality in the country.

  • Cali, the nation's third largest city, has been an epicenter for the protests and President Ivan Duque on Saturday deployed the military to "quell the unrest," the BBC reports.
  • Fourteen people have been killed in Cali since Friday and 98 have been wounded with 54 of these injuries resulting from firearms, per the statement from Bachelet's office.
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken "expressed his concern and condolences for the loss of life during recent protests in Colombia and reiterated the unquestionable right of citizens to protest peacefully" during a meeting with Marta Lucía Ramírez, Colombia's vice president and foreign minister on Friday, per a statement from State Department spokesman Ned Price.

What they're saying: “These events are all the more concerning given the progress that had been made to resolve, through dialogue, the social unrest that erupted a month ago,” Bachelet said in the statement.

  • “It is essential that all those who are reportedly involved in causing injury or death, including State officials, are subject to prompt, effective, independent, impartial and transparent investigations and that those responsible are held accountable."
  • Bachelet also called for the "fair trial and due process rights" of people detained during the clashes, of which the United Nations believes there are at least 30.

But, but, but: Not everyone agrees with the demonstrators. On Sunday, thousands of people marched in Bogota to show their support for the security forces and call for an end to the anti-government protests, Reuters reports.

Go deeper

Aug 24, 2021 - World

WHO says it only has enough medical supplies in Afghanistan to last a week

Children from Kunduz sleep on a cloth covering the hard ground in the darkness of the makeshift camp at Shahr-e-Naw Park in Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 14. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times

The World Health Organization only has enough medical supplies on the ground in Afghanistan to last a week, after shipments of supplies were blocked due to restrictions at the Kabul airport, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: An estimated 18 million Afghans, roughly half the total population, were in need of humanitarian assistance as of last month.

Aug 25, 2021 - Axios Twin Cities

Protests over Line 3 pipeline, masks prompt Minnesota Capitol closure

The state Capitol fence, pictured above last year, is back. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

The Minnesota state Capitol is once again closed to the public.

Driving the news: The state Department of Administration announced Tuesday that the building will temporarily close "in anticipation of large demonstrations scheduled throughout the week."

  • The announcement followed news that a large security fence was going back up "out of an abundance of caution."

Why it matters: Public access is supposed to be a key feature of the state Capitol, known as the "People's House." But for much of the last year, the building has been locked down and surrounded by fencing.

  • The closures are reflective of heightened tensions around protests and security in the wake of civil unrest over George Floyd's murder and the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.
  • Pandemic precautions also resulted in visitor restrictions in some buildings.

What's happening: Thousands of people are expected to descend on the grounds for events this week, according to the Department of Administration.

What they're saying: Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bruce Gordon cited a "number of different events" when asked for more information about the concerns.

  • He declined to say whether there are credible threats against the building or its occupants because the answer is "security information."

Yes, but: The Capitol has always been a popular place for major rallies. The 2017 Women's March attracted an estimated 90,000 people. Protests on climate, guns and abortion regularly draw thousands.

The other side: Organizers of the "Treaties not Tar Sands" anti-Line 3 events happening this week criticized what they called a "decision to militarize the Capitol grounds rather than welcome the presence of Indigenous grandmothers, art, and ceremony."

What's next: The duration of the closure is "to be determined."

  • The Legislature is expected to return as soon as September to vote on bonus payments for frontline workers. Closures at that time could prompt fresh criticism over access and transparency in the legislative process.
43 mins ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

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