Thousands March Against Drug Violence in Mexico City

A rally was held this past Sunday in Mexico City to protest the country’s ongoing drug war.  At the protest, poet Javier Sicilia called for the Mexican government to change its strategy in the war with drug cartels The New York Times reports.  Sicilia’s son was killed along with six other people by a drug cartel over a month ago in the colonial city.

Sicilia also called for the resignation of Genaro García Luna, the director of public security.  Luna organizes Mexican President Felipe Calderón’s battle against the drug gangs. “We want to hear a message from the president of the republic that with this resignation, yes, he has heard us,” Sicilia said.

Since Calderón began sending Mexico’s military to fight drug cartels over four and a half years ago, violence in the country has continued to increase.  Sicilia, like many Mexicans, feels like a victim in a battle between organized crime and Mexican soldiers and police.  Many citizens feel that Mexican authorities have not done an adequate job of checking the killings of innocent victims due to what the local government itself admits is a mixture of inefficiency, corruption, and fear.  The Mexican government maintains, however, that the dead from the drug war are almost all members of rival gangs.

At the end of the rally, Sicilia asked for a moment of silence for the more than 35,000 people dead since Calderón began his crackdown.  Last week, the president insisted that he would not pull the military from the streets.