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Thousands March in Mexico City to Protest Crime - 2004-06-27

Hundreds of thousands of people rallied in Mexico City Sunday to protest against kidnappings and violent crime. Demonstrators were paying tribute to crime victims in Mexico's capital.

The march started from the Angel of Independence Monument and stretched to Mexico City's main square the Zocolo. Those taking part were most dressed in all white clothing to signify purity and peace.

Mexico has the second-highest number of kidnappings in the world, with some 3,000 reported cases last year. But most kidnappings go unreported because of a lack of faith in the justice system, some say.

Student Barbara Martinez said the Mexican authorities, especially the police, must better organize themselves to effectively combat kidnapping. "I really want to feel safe. If I am out at night at ten o'clock and I see a policeman, I want to feel that he is going to protect me and I don't want to be afraid of him. I think that is the key, not being afraid of the people who are supposedly going to take care of us," she said.

Businessman Andres Lajous said Mexican authorities, especially the administration of President Vicente Fox, must take action. "Well yes it can be done. I just think that the authorities have to do something and really take it seriously and I think this meeting will help the authorities realize that they have to do something fast, because we really can't stand it anymore. I mean people are scared, I am scared. Everybody is scared at night," he said.

Office worker Humberto Bravo said that, in the past, kidnappers abducted the wealthy. But now as Mexico's economic crisis worsens, everyone is a target. One of my close friends was a girl that was liberated for $300. After twenty hours of being kidnapped, they wanted $300,000, but saw that the family has no money. She was liberated for $300 only," he said.

The marchers finally broke their silence by singing Mexico's national anthem

Many chanted slogans saying the situation has gotten out of hand. A recent report released by the Mexican Employers Association called Copamex, says that during the last seven years, the level of kidnapping in and around Mexico City, the Federal District and the State of Mexico, has increased by 740 percent.