Tags: Mexico | drugs | war | troops

Mexicans Protest Combat Troops in Drug War

Monday, 15 Feb 2010 09:33 AM

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Hundreds of people took to the streets Sunday to protest Ciudad Juarez' record-setting crime wave civil rights groups say is made worse by the presence of 6,000 Mexican combat troops.

"The army's presence is anti-constitutional and violates citizens' rights. That's why we're asking them to withdraw," National Front Against Repression leader Javier Contreras bellowed at some 1,300 people taking part in the "March of Anger" in the center of the city.

Across the border from the US city of El Paso, Texas, Ciudad Juarez is a battleground for rival drug cartels seeking control of lucrative drug smuggling routes into the United States.

Despite 6,000 troops sent in to reinforce local police in fighting crime, last year 2,660 people were murdered in the city, making it the murder capital of Mexico.

When 15 innocent youths were gunned down at a party on January 31, civil rights groups staged a demonstration to vent the local population's anger at the seemingly endless bloodshed.

The National Front and other civil right groups maintain innocent civilians are sometimes harassed or tortured by law enforcement officials in their zealous crackdown on organized crime.

"You can't fight violence with more violence and breaking the laws," Contreras said, speaking to the protesters.

President Felipe Calderon visited Ciudad Juarez last week and apologized to the bereaving families of the young party goers for initially blaming last month's massacre on gang warfare.

The president admitted that his three-year crackdown on crime with more than 50,000 troops spread across the country "is not enough," and vowed to redesign a new strategy against crime and violence with community cooperation.

Drug-related crime has left more than 15,000 dead in the past three years in Mexico.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico — Hundreds of people took to the streets Sunday to protest Ciudad Juarez' record-setting crime wave civil rights groups say is made worse by the presence of 6,000 Mexican combat troops.
Mexico,drugs,war,troops
292
2010-33-15
Monday, 15 Feb 2010 09:33 AM
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