In response to major peace demonstrations in Bogota, Colombia’s president thanked those who marched and reemphasized the need for progress at the peace talks in Havana.
“Today has been a very important day for the victims…. the country turned out to recognize them…to tell the Colombian society: here are people that have suffered, that are victims, that deserve our solidarity,” Santos said on Tuesday after at least half a million people, by conservative estimates, marched for peace in Bogota.
The people marched to demonstrate their support for the peace process and to remember the victims of Colombia’s armed conflict, as well as marking the 65 years of violence since the assassination of iconic populist politician Jorge Eliecer Gaitan in 1948.
“From all over, from all the political parties, the Colombian people came out to express themselves. An expression that we all must hear, that the FARC must hear over there in Havana: the Colombian pueblo wants and demands peace,” Santos said.
Humberto De La Calle, chief government negotiator at the peace talks agreed.
“This was a massive and convincing protest in favor of peace. This march was from all of Colombia,” De La Calle said.
Others, like former president Alvaro Uribe, were not so enthusiastic. In multiple tweets, Uribe refers to the demonstrations as, “the march for impunity.”
The march had been organized by the Marcha Patriotica, an umbrella organization of leftist social movements to push the government and rebel group FARC to come to a negotiated end of the conflict. Subsequently, both the government and the FARC joined the initiative.
The march mobilized few Colombians in other cities. In Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, no more than 3,000 people took to the streets. According to Cali newspaper El Pais, some 400 protesters joined the demonstration in the country’s third largest city.
- ‘El pueblo colombiano quiere y exige la pax’: Presidente Santos (Presidencia.gov.co)
- Press release from la Oficina del Alto Comisionado para la Paz