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Mexicans march against drug violence

Latest update : 2008-08-31

Tens of thousands of Mexicans marched in mass demonstrations throughout the country Saturday to protest against escalating crime. Despite a government crackdown, gang killings and kidnappings are on the rise.

Mexican doctor Manuel Ramires Juarez handed out portraits of his kidnapped daughter to members of a ballooning crowd at Mexico City's central Angel of Independence monument on Saturday.
   
He joined tens of thousands of Mexicans who marched in towns and cities across the country in silent protests against escalating murders, kidnappings and impunity.
   
"I'm taking part in this march to get my daughter Monica back. She was kidnapped in December 2004 and her abductors still haven't given any news," Juarez said.
   
The Mexico City doctor said a fellow student was arrested for involvement in the crime and sentenced to 21 years in prison.
   
"But the boy didn't speak because those people (kidnappers) have a law of silence and they fear revenge from their accomplices. He didn't even say if my daughter was alive."
   
Juarez's daughter was kidnapped ahead of her 21st birthday, and the case is one of hundreds of unresolved crimes.
   
The Mexico City doctor said police had been involved in the crime, as in many kidnapping cases, and denounced the authorities as "deaf and lazy."
   
Violence has risen since President Felipe Calderon, who took office at the end of 2006, launched a crackdown on drug trafficking and related attacks, including the deployment of more than 36,000 soldiers across the country.
   
But police corruption, kidnappings and deadly drug-related attacks have been part of life here for years.
   
Although protest organizers told people to dress in white and bring only candles to the marches, some bought banners, including a strong message to authorities wrapped around the Angel of Independence monument: "May the bitches govern us, judge us and sentence us, since their sons have failed us," it read.
   
"That's enough now. No more impunity," read a banner in the crowd. "Magistrates, no more revoking sentences," read another.
   
One protester among the some 200,000 gathered on the capital's streets said everyone was affected by insecurity in Mexico.
   
"We've all been held up in minibuses, in buses, and that's why we've come to the march," said Juan Nieves, who said he was a militant from a local workers' organization.
   
March participants left messages for their leaders on a giant white cloth, including: "I'm tired, I want to live."
   
The march organizers were due Sunday to hand a document with citizens' requests to right-wing President Calderon and the capital's leftist mayor Marcelo Ebrard.

Date created : 2008-08-31

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