Colombian rebels stop peace march

Sunday, September 30, 2001

BALSILLAS, Colombia -- Guerrillas blocked a protest caravan led by Colombia's leading presidential candidate Saturday, forcing him to call off his planned march into a rebel-controlled region to demand peace concessions.

Guerrillas from the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, barred the 112-bus caravan Saturday morning in Balsillas, 124 miles south of the capital, Bogota. They told Horacio Serpa and thousands of his supporters that the road ahead was mined and ordered him to turn back.

The march -- aimed at pressuring the FARC to make peace concessions and halt human rights abuses inside its safe haven -- had been brought to a halt briefly earlier in the morning when metal spikes placed on the road by presumed FARC members punctured tires.

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