Latin America & Caribbean

Colombians march in support of Farc peace talks

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Media captionThe biggest march took place in the capital, Bogota

Tens of thousands of people in Colombia have taken part in marches to support the continuing peace talks between the left-wing Farc rebels and government negotiators.

President Juan Manuel Santos called on Colombians to seize the opportunity.

"All conditions are set. We need to unite all Colombians and put an end to the conflict," said Mr Santos at a march in the capital, Bogota.

The talks, aimed at ending five decades of violence, are taking place in Cuba.

The demonstrations have attracted large crowds in Cali, Barranquilla, Santander and other Colombian cities.

The negotiations are opposed by supporters of former President Alvaro Uribe and big landowners.

They say the Farc rebels are just playing for time and have no intention of giving up their armed struggle.

No ceasefire

The issue is also sensitive with sectors of the armed forces and the police, who have fought Colombia's largest rebel group since the 1960s.

"Those who say the armed forces are not interested in peace are wrong. They are more interested in achieving peace than anyone else," said Mr Santos, after paying homage to civilians and soldiers who have died in the violence.

Hundreds of thousands of people have died and more than three million have been displaced by the conflict.

Mr Santos reaffirmed that he would not call a ceasefire during the peace talks with the rebels, saying that would only "prolong the conflict".

The first face-to-face negotiations between the government and the left-wing rebels in a decade started last October in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, and transferred to Cuba a month later.

The Colombian government says the final aim is to get the Farc rebels to abandon their armed struggle and join the legal political process.

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