Thousands of Colombians took to the streets on Wednesday night to show their support for peace after the weekend's shock vote rejecting a deal to end half a century of conflict with the FARC guerrilla group.
The war with the FARC, together with some other similar conflicts in Colombia, has killed an estimated 220,000 people and forced nearly 7 million from their homes.
The historic agreement was widely celebrated abroad, but failed to generate much active enthusiasm within Colombia, in part because of the deep unpopularity of the FARC, and a concerted opposition effort from former president Álvaro Uribe. Turnout was under 40 percent in Sunday's referendum, which polls had predicted would easily ratify the accord. This allowed the more motivated oppositionto snatch a wafer-thin victory.
Fears that Colombia could slip back into full-scale war are now growing as the government struggles to get new negotiations going and the FARC puts its plans to demobilize on hold. The current ceasefire is due to run out at the end of the month.
Wednesday's pro-peace demonstrations were organized over social media by students who have never known anything other than war in Colombia. The largest was in the capital Bogota.
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The march in Bogota fills the city's main square (Photo via Twitter.)
Many hold candles as they march. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo)
The marches were held in 14 cities around the country, including in the city of Cali. (Photo by Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters)
Marchers in Bogota hold banners demanding "agreement now" and ""no turning back" (Photo by John Vizcaino/Reuters)
A boy holds a Colombian flag during a rally for peace in Bogota. (Photo by Fernando Vergara/AP Photo.)