Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

Hundreds Protest Violence in Ciudad Juarez

Sunday, February 14, 2010 |


The Associated Press

Ciudad Juarez, Chih - Hundreds of people marched Saturday against the drug gang violence besieging the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, gathering at a bridge where they simulated the massacre of a group of teenagers last month.

Police, meanwhile, found the bullet-ridden bodies of five men in a town in the southwestern corner of Chihuahua state. And a decapitated body was found dumped beside the highway leading into the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

The protesters marched to a border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, where they dropped to the ground as masked people dressed in black arrived at the scene, pretending to be the gunmen who killed 15 people in a working-class neighborhood on Jan. 30.

Many of those killed were teenagers with no known ties to drug gangs. Police have arrested two suspects who told authorities they were targeting members of a rival cartel, but investigators say the killers may have been acting on mistaken information.

The attack stoked anger against the government of President Felipe Calderon, whose deployment of thousands of troops to Ciudad Juarez has done little to stop vicious fighting between gangs battling for drug dealing turf and lucrative trafficking routes north.

The bloodshed has made the city of 1.3 million, which lies across the border from El Paso, one of the world's deadliest. More than 2,600 people were killed last year.

Calderon fueled the outrage when he initially said the Jan. 30 massacre was the result of a fight between rival drug gangs. He apologized during a visit Thursday to Ciudad Juarez, where he met with relatives of the victims and pledged to spend more on social programs in the city.

The protesters made clear they had not forgiven him.

“President Felipe Calderon should also resign,” said Luz Maria Davila, whose two sons were killed the massacre. “We want peace in Ciudad Juarez because all of those kids were students and they weren't gangsters like people said.”

In the town of Guadalupe and Calvo, which lies in the opposite corner of Chihuahua state from Ciudad Juarez, the bodies of five men were found dumped on a dirt road. A state prosecutors' report said the five men had missing since Feb. 6. The men were identified and sent back to their hometown of Lajita de Palmira, but the motive for their killings was not known.

Police in the southwestern state of Guerrero had not identified the decapitated man, found midday on the side of the highway connecting Mexico City to Acapulco. The body was found at inside a nylon bag with his feet and hands bound.

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