Saturday, August 14, 1999 Published at 22:49 GMT 23:49 UK
'No more violence,' say mourners
Mourners filed past Garzon's body lying in state at Congress
Tens of thousands of mourners have gathered in the Colombian capital Bogota for the funeral of the country's best-loved comic, Jaime Garzon, who was assassinated on Friday.
Garzon, who had been working to forward peace efforts with leftist rebels, was shot dead as he drove to the Bogota radio station where he presented a morning show.
His funeral Mass at the National Cathedral and burial are taking on many of the trappings of a state funeral, as numbers in Bogota's vast Bolivar Square nearbly swelled to about 60,000.
The traffic lights, where the motorcycle assassins killed the comedian by pumping five shots into his head and chest through the window of his jeep, is covered in flowers and tributes.
In an honour usually reserved for top politicians, Garzon's body was allowed to lie in state in Congress before the funeral.
Attorney-General Jaime Cuellar addressed the crowd in Bolivar Square and called on "the men of violence" from left and right to stop this "absurd war".
"The only people paying a price of the war are the symbols of the country, like Jaime Garzon", Mr Cuellar said.
The government is offering a reward of 500m pesos ($270,000) for information leading to the killers' arrest.
President Andres Pastrana, a long time friend of Garzon's, said: "This is contemptible from all points of view and once again I want to reiterate that Colombians are tired of this type of violence and we must look for reconciliation."
Right-wing paramilitaries were initially blamed for the assassination, but have issued a denial.
The largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), is also under suspicion, following reports that its relationship with Garzon had soured.
The government said 600 motorcycles fitting the description of the one used in the killing had been impounded for investigation.
The comedian was best known for his stinging send-ups of Colombian personalities.
But he also liased with leftist rebels to try to secure the release of kidnap victims and had organised guerrilla news conferences in a southern rebel-controlled area.
Colleagues said Garzon had told them, as recently as Thursday, about receiving death threats from right-wing paramilitary militias.
Garzon's sister, Marisol, said he had become more careful about his movements lately, although he refused bodyguards.
This has been Colombia's highest-profile assassination since the 1995 killing of Conservative Party leader Alvaro Gomez, allegedly by former members of the military secret service.