French-Colombian former hostage Ingrid Betancourt staged a concert in Paris as part of worldwide anti-FARC rallies held on Colombian independence day. Around five million people are expected to demonstrate throughout Europe and Latin America.
Colombian ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt staged a concert in Paris Sunday as part of a day of rallies in Europe and Latin America seeking the release of captives still held by rebels in the Colombian jungle.
"No more hostages!" Betancourt chanted as she addressed a crowd of several thousand people who came to watch around 30 artists perform in a square across the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower.
Colombia's rebels must lay down their arms and free the hundreds of hostages they still hold, she told the concert-goers, many of whom waved Colombian flags and chanted "Freedom, freedom."
Betancourt, who also holds French citizenship, was rescued July 2 by Colombian armed forces who said they tricked her captors into handing her over along with three Americans and 11 other Colombian hostages.
The 46-year-old politician was abducted in 2002 by rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) while campaigning for the Colombian presidency.
After being reunited with her children who live in Paris, she returned to France where her ordeal in the Colombian jungle had turned her into a cause celebre.
In Colombia, pop star Shakira was set to lead nationwide demonstrations in her native country demanding the liberation of the hostages held by rebels in the jungle for years.
Around 80 solidarity rallies are also planned in other cities around Latin America and the rest of the world.
The FARC continues to detain an estimated 700 hostages. Up to 2,000 more are believed to be held by the National Liberation Army, another leftist rebel group.
Around five million people are expected to take part in demonstrations Sunday in some 1,000 towns and cities across Colombia.
The marches coincide with independence day celebrations in the southern town of Leticia, which are to be attended by President Alvaro Uribe and his guests, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Alan Garcia of Peru.
Shakira, Colombia's world-famous pop icon, was due to sing Colombia's national anthem at the start of that commemoration before launching into a concert in support of the hostage liberation demonstration.
Date created : 2008-07-20