efe-epaBogota

Thousands of public university students protested on Wednesday in different cities across Colombia to urge the government for more funds to avoid college closures.

The president of the Colombian Association of Student Representatives (ACREES), Alejandro Palacio, told EFE that public universities need 3.2 trillion pesos (about 1.037 billion dollars) in order to stay open this year.

"The mobilizations have been very strong (...) people went to gather in all the cities of the country in a peaceful way," the student leader said.

Palacio said that ACREES has also called on the government to commit to paying 15 trillion pesos worth of "historical debt that the Government owes to the universities."

Palacio stressed that the marches "passed amid tranquility" although he acknowledged that there were some incidents which he condemned, saying the protests do not "need to have those situations."

Colombian President Ivan Duque announced on Tuesday that, within the framework of the biennial royalty budget (the income the nation receives from the exploitation of oil, gas and minerals), one trillion pesos will be put aside for investment in higher education.