Photo: Protests Cuernavaca, Mexico
Thousands of people took to the streets of Cuernavaca, the capital of Mexico’s Morelos state, over the weekend to protest against the wave of violence in the region, officials said.
A Morelos state government spokesman told Efe that about 2,000 people turned out for Sunday’s silent march, while various media outlets pegged the demonstrators at 5,000 in Cuernavaca, a city about 85 kilometers (52 miles) south of Mexico City.
The protesters called on state and federal officials to take measures to deal with crime in Morelos, which has been plagued by a wave of murders, kidnappings and extortion rackets.
Morelos is the top state in reported kidnappings out of Mexico’s 32 states, the National Citizens Observatory, or ONC, said in a report released last week.
The protesters, many of whom were dressed in white and carried candles, were asked to participate in the silent march by various grassroots organizations that used the Internet to organize the demonstration.
Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity founder and poet Javier Sicilia was among those who took part in the march.
The war on drugs launched by former President Felipe Calderon, who was in office from 2006 to 2012, left about 70,000 people dead, or an average of 32 per day, in Mexico, officials say.
Calderon, of the conservative National Action Party, or PAN, deployed thousands of soldiers and Federal Police officers across the country to fight drug cartels.
President Enrique Peña Nieto, of the Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, has continued the strategy implemented by Calderon of taking on the cartels, but he has also called for bolstering intelligence capabilities and attacking criminal organizations’ entire structures, not just kingpins.