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Mexicans Stage Nationwide Anti-Crime Protest


Hundreds of thousands of Mexicans have marched in locations across the country to demand a stop to a wave of killings, abductions and shootouts. James Blears reports from Mexico City.

Scores of towns and cities took part in silent marches to show a united front against escalating kidnappings and murders.

In Mexico City, an overflow crowd of more than 100,000 gathered in the capital city's main Zocalo square. As indigenous musicians blew into sea shells to signal the start of the rally, protesters dressed in white, and cupping their hands around flickering candles, carried signs that read "Enough is Enough," "We want to live in peace" and "The Death Penalty For Kidnappers."

Doctor Adiel Asch, who's colleague was recently shot in the leg in a robbery and kidnap attempt, stressed that this show of people power must convince the government to act now.

"I'm here for Mexico. I'm here for my children and for our future. I belive that this country deserves better and this is a demonstration that we can do better," said Asch.

Most crimes in Mexico go unsolved, with corrupt police and justice officials often complicating investigations.

Mariana Rios says she knows a family that suffered a double kidnapping. She says that many people in Mexico would never put their faith or trust in the police to resolve such a crime.

"The thing is that you don't trust in the police. So what they basically do is to try to negotiate with the kidnappers and eventually they all paid their randoms. There is no trust in the police and if you go you think you are putting at risk the life of your relative more than if you do something by [on] your own," she said.

Mexico is one of the worst countries in the world for abductions, along with conflict zones like Iraq and Colombia.

Violence has continued to climb in Mexico despite a crackdown launched by President Felipe Calderon after he took office in 2006.

Mr. Calderon deployed more than 25,000 soldiers and federal police to fight drug cartels.

On August 21, President Calderon called a crime summit of state governors and other officials to discuss ways to combat the country's soaring crime rate. Well over 2,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence just this year.

The summit took place following widespread outrage over the kidnapping of a 14-year-old boy found dead even though his wealthy father had paid a ransom.

Mexico has one of the highest abduction rates in the world, but many victims never report the crime because police are often involved. Several police officers were arrested in the case of the murdered teenager.

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