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Thousands of Mexicans protest killings

Sunday, August 31st 2008 - 21:00 UTC
Full article
 Mass anti-crime rallies in Mexico City Mass anti-crime rallies in Mexico City

Thousands of Mexicans marched inthe capital on Saturday to protest against a wave ofkidnappings and gruesome murders, putting pressure on PresidentFelipe Calderon to meet his promises to crack down on crime.

Holding candles and dressed in white, demonstrators on the capital's Paseo de la Reforma main street carried posters and pictures of kidnap victims and signs saying, "Enough Is Enough". Protests were planned throughout the country, especially along the U.S.-Mexico border where increasingly brazen drug gangs are battling each other for control of smuggling routes. More than 2,300 people have been killed in drug murders this year. "Everything is getting worse. There are more kidnappings and more murders," said Carlos Villasenor, 63, a camera storeowner who held a white flower. Long used to violent crime, Mexicans were nevertheless outraged by the kidnapping and murder of Fernando Marti, 14,whose body was found in a car trunk in Mexico City on August 1even though his businessman father had paid a ransom. That murder prompted Calderon, Mexico City's mayor Marcelo Ebrard and state governors to hold an emergency crime summit last week and vow to stamp out abductions and violent crime. Mexico is one of the worst countries in the world for abductions, along with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia. Kidnapping jumped almost 40 percent between 2004 and 2007, according to official statistics. Police say there were 751kidnappings in Mexico last year but independent crime research institute ICESI says the real number could be above 7,000. Most crimes in Mexico go unsolved with corrupt police and justice officials often complicating investigations. Several policemen were arrested for Marti's kidnapping. Drug violence has also exploded in the last three years as Mexico's most wanted man, escaped convict Joaquin "Shorty" Thousands of Mexicans marched in the capital on Saturday to protest against a wave of kidnappings and gruesome murders, putting pressure on President Felipe Calderon to meet his promises to crack down on crime. Guzman, takes on the Gulf cartel and other gangs for control of the drug trade. Eleven headless bodies were dumped in a small town in the Yucatan peninsula on Thursday and another decapitated corpse was found nearby. Police suspect the Gulf cartel, and Mexican media say the victims were likely alive when their heads were cut off. Calderon sent 25,000 troops and federal police against the drug cartels after he took office in December 2006 but killings have increased. While much of the drug violence is between rival smugglers and does not affect ordinary Mexicans, kidnappings and robberies at gunpoint are common threats. Protesters are angry both at Calderon and Mayor Ebrard, a leftist possible presidential candidate in 2012. "The message is: Get to work or we'll hold you accountable. We're angry," said Eduardo Gallo, an accountant whose25-year-old daughter was kidnapped in 2000 and murdered. Hundreds of thousands of people held a similar anti-crime march in Mexico City in 2004.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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