Internet site to spawn protests in 185 cities Monday against rebel group's methods
Hundreds of thousands of Colombians are expected to march throughout the country and in major cities around the world Monday to protest against this nation's oldest and most powerful rebel group.
What began as a group of young people venting their rage at the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on Facebook, an Internet social-networking site, has ballooned into an international event called "One Million Voices Against FARC."
"We expected the idea to resound with a lot of people but not so much and not so quickly," says Oscar Morales, who started the Facebook group against the FARC, which now has 230,000 members. Organizers are expecting marches in 185 cities around the world.
The event is another example of how technology – such as text messaging on cellphones – can be used to rally large numbers of people to a cause. Some observers say it's less a response to the FARC's ideology than it is global public outrage over kidnapping as a weapon.
Colombia continues to be the world's kidnapping capital with as many as 3,000 hostages now being held. Anger over the practice has risen in recent months after two women released by the FARC last month after six years in captivity recounted the hardships they and other hostages endured.
Monday's protests have the support of the government, many nongovernmental organizations, and some political parties but its main battle cry of "No More FARC" has also polarized some Colombians rather than bringing them together.