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Colombians rally in support of FARC peace talks

Colombians rally in support of FARC peace talks
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Thousands of people in Colombia have marched through the capital Bogota and other cities in support of peace talks with Marxist FARC rebels.

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos was at the centre of the rally. He told the crowd there would be no ceasefire because that would only prolong the conflict.

“The nation is expressing its rejection of violence, violence that has caused so many wounds and so much pain,” he said.

Sentiments shared by former FARC hostage Consuelo Gonzalez de Perdomo: “Peace is the only thing that Colombian people long for. A Colombia in peace with reconciliation.”

But the call for peace has divided the South American nation, with government critics accusing it of giving FARC whatever it wants and a springboard to enter politics.

Colombia, at war with the FARC since 1964, in November launched a controversial bid to negotiate peace with the rebels during talks in Havana, Cuba.

Latin America’s longest-running insurgency has left tens of thousands dead, seeded vast rural and mountainous areas with landmines and left scores of villages and towns economically isolated.