The month of protests has left at least 59 people dead, officials say, including the 13 who died in Cali.
The Colombian army has tightened its control over Cali, the country's third largest city, after the latest anti-government protests left at least 13 people dead.
The city's streets were largely deserted after clashes late Friday pitted police against armed civilians. The country is in the second month of protests against the government of President Ivan Duque.
In Cali, a city of 2.2 million, the smoking remains of barricades and rubble heaps testified to the chaotic night. There, as across the country, poverty and the pandemic have sparked widespread anger and resentment.
The month of protests has left at least 59 people dead, officials say, including the 13 who died in Cali. More than 2,300 civilians and uniformed personnel have been injured, according to the Defense Ministry.
The NGO Human Rights Watch cited "credible reports" of at least 63 deaths nationwide, and called the situation in Cali "very serious."
The dead in Cali included an off-duty employee of the prosecutor's office who had fired his gun at two protesters blocking a street, killing one of them. Video on social media shows a crowd then pouncing on the shooter and lynch ing him.
President Ivan Duque announced on Friday he was deploying military troops to Cali while the nation marked a full month of Colombia-wide rallies that have morphed into a broad anti-establishment mobilisation.
After chairing a security meeting in the city, Duque announced on Friday "the maximum deployment of military assistance to the national police" would begin immediately.
Jose Miguel Vivanco, the rights group's executive director for the Americas, urged Duque to take "urgent measures to de-escalate, including a specific order prohibiting agents of the state from using firearms."
Analysts have blamed the government's militarized history for its response to the protests.
For more than 50 years, Colombia's war against leftist FARC guerrillas eclipsed all other government priorities, with the state emerging from the conflict militarily strong but weak on social redress.
In 2019, the year after Duque took power, students took to the streets demanding free and more accessible public education, better jobs and a supportive government.
The coronavirus outbreak put an end to that without Duque having to make major concessions.
But on April 28, fury at a proposed tax increase on the middle classes led people onto the streets again.
Though the proposal was quickly withdrawn, it had triggered a broad anti-government mobilisation by people who felt they were left to fend for themselves in the health crisis, and who were further angered by the heavy-handed response of the security forces.
Raging coronavirus infections
Mostly peaceful protests by day have often turned into riots at night and running battles with the armed forces.
Protesters have kept barricades burning countrywide and blocked dozens of key roads, causing shortages of many products.
Meanwhile, Colombia continues to see record numbers of coronavirus infections, and hospitals are approaching collapse.