Thousands of Colombians Take to the Streets in Support of Peace

Bogota’s Plaza Bolivar was filled to capacity with supporters of peace/Photo: @FARC_EPueblo

“We firmly reject the path of a closed and elitist pact of the right wing,” said a campesino organization.

Hundreds of thousands of Colombians took to the streets to demand the peace accord be respected, as President Manuel Santos met with right-wing former president, Alvaro Uribe, to discuss changes to the peace deal with the FARC-EP.

About 150,000 in the capital of Bogota flooded Plaza Bolivar, as thousands more protested in major cities around the South American nation, including Barranquilla, Cali, Cartagena, Quibdo, Bucaramanga, Santa Marta, Manizales and Medellin.

Social movements in Colombia opposed to what they called “a pact between elites,” following Sunday’s “No” win in the peace plebiscite, called for the demonstrations.

The Patriotic March said that the vote cannot be seen as a victory for the “No” campaign or those against peace. The group said that the peace deal negotiated and signed in Havana, Cuba was the best option to move towards peace. The Patriotic March also called for national mobilizations in support of peace for Oct. 14.

The People’s Congress, an organization made up of hundreds of Colombian campesino groups, said in a statement Tuesday that Santos’ negotiating with Uribe equated to a “pact between elites.”

“We firmly reject the path of a closed and elitist pact of the right wing, which again excludes the common people and it is a sure way to a new cycle of violence,” said the congress.

The congress said that Santos’ government was not representing their interests in its negotiations with Uribe, leader of the “No” campaign, who said the peace deal with the FARC-EP was allowing criminals to be granted immunity. The congress blasted Uribe as a warmonger.

Three representatives from Uribe’s Democratic Center party will look into the details of the deal with three government representatives in what could turn into a dual negotiation process.

Santos announced yesterday that the cease-fire with the FARC-EP will expire on Oct. 31. Timoleon Jimenez, head of the FARC-EP said that his group would continue the cease-fire despite the failed plebiscite.

The Colombian defense ministry clarified yesterday, and Santos reiterated today, that the cease-fire could be extended beyond Oct. 31 indefinitely.