Former FARC Rebels March On Colombian Capital To Demand Protection


Former left-wing FARC guerrillas began a 10-day march in Colombia on Wednesday to protest the murder of 234 ex-rebels who laid down their arms under the historic 2016 peace accord that ended a half century of conflict.

The so-called "pilgrimage" occurred as indigenous people, teachers, students and unions also took to the streets across the country as part of a national strike to demand government action and protest against violence inflicted on indigenous people.

The 200-kilometer (125-mile) march began in Mesetas in the south of the country and is due to arrive in the capital Bogota on November 1.

It was organized following the death of two former combatants who were gunned down on October 16 near Mesetas. According to FARC, that brought the number of murdered ex-combatants to 234 since the peace deal.

Many of the former rebels have become victims rather than perpetrators as other left-wing groups, right-wing paramilitaries and drug traffickers vie for ascendancy.

"We're calling for the country's attention to... reject the acts of violence from all sides, including the state," Pastor Alape, a former FARC commander and current political leader, told AFP.



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