EFEBogota

Protesters have torched a police station and destroyed more than a dozen security posts in escalated violence, officials said, as demonstrations over a proposed tax overhaul rocked the Colombian capital.

The demonstrations turned ugly on Tuesday after a mob set fire to a police station in Bogota with around 10-15 officers inside.

The officers managed to escape even as at least 15 other police posts were destroyed, Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez said.

"The escalation in violence is brutal," the mayor tweeted.

Lopes alleged that the crowd tried to burn the 15 officers in southern Bogota.

They vandalized 15 police posts and shot and stabbed officers.

"Bogota is being attacked by organized criminals who are being confronted by our police. We emphatically condemn these attacks against police officers," President Ivan Duque said in a speech around midnight.

Lopez urged Defense Minister Diego Molano to press security forces to help protect police lockups that house 2,825 people currently under arrest.

Violent protests broke out in the country on Apr.28 over controversial tax reforms.

So far, at least 19 people have been killed, according to officials.

Nonprofits have put the number at 31.

NGO Temblores alleged that nearly 90 people have gone missing.

The unrest came ahead of another day of protests by unions and social groups on Wednesday.

The protesters demonstrate against the government's economic policies even as it has withdrawn the tax reform bill.

Clashes began on Tuesday evening in multiple sectors of south Bogota and spread to areas where social groups had alleged excesses by riot police a day earlier.

Bogota government said that a city busy had been put on fire by protesters near the Tintal library.

Some of the fiercest clashes took place at the Las Americas gateway in western Bogota, where disturbances continued for hours, with at least three people injured and a bus set on fire.

Casualties were unknown from other cities like Cali where clashes continued a day after at least five people died and 33 were injured, according to municipal authorities.

Violence has repeatedly broken out during the protests.

The people on Tuesday night banged pots and pans as part of peaceful gatherings in dozens of places across Bogota, protesting police repression and violence that has sent shockwaves across the country over the past few days.

On Wednesday, the capital's protests will be joined by a group of Dominican monks, who plan to carry a city flag and a placard urging people to "love each other." EFE

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