While in other cities no more than a few thousand people took to the street, Colombia’s government says more than a million took part in a march in the capital Tuesday to support ongoing peace talks between the government and rebel group FARC.
The national disaster management and prevention unit — which like most government agencies had promoted the march — tweeted that some 900,000 people took part in the marches, with another 150,000 briefly joining.
El análisis permitió estimar que a la marcha #AhoraSílaPAZ asistieron 900 mil personas en el centro de la ciudad y 150 mil flotantes.
— FOPAE (@FOPAE) April 9, 2013
The claim was denied by opponents of the march. Senator Juan Carlos Velez told Colombia Reports no more than 500 thousand people could have taken part. This claim was supported by consulted locals.
The march had been organized by the Marcha Patriotica, an umbrella organization of leftist social movements to push the government and rebel group FARC to come to a negotiated end of the conflict. Subsequently, both the government and the FARC joined the initiative.
The march mobilized few Colombians in other cities. In Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, no more than 3,000 people took to the streets. According to Cali newspaper El Pais, some 400 protesters joined the demonstration in the country’s third largest city.