Mexican Rallies Nationwide Yesterday

Demonstrators hold up candles Saturday at the main Zocalo square in Mexico City during a protest against the tide of killings, kidnappings and shootouts sweeping the country.

Demonstrators hold up candles Saturday at the main Zocalo square in Mexico City during a protest against the tide of killings, kidnappings and shootouts sweeping the country.

Activists plan marches in every state

MEXICO CITY – Hundreds of thousands of frustrated Mexicans, many carrying pictures of kidnapped loved ones, marched across the country Saturday to demand government action against a relentless tide of killings, abductions and shootouts.

The mass candlelight protests were a challenge to the government of President Felipe Calderon, who has made fighting crime a priority and deployed more than 25,000 soldiers and federal police to wrest territory from powerful drug cartels.

Cries of “enough” and “long live Mexico” rose up from sea of white-clad demonstrators filling Mexico City’s enormous Zocalo square. The protesters held candles twinkling in the darkness as they sang the national anthem before dispersing.

City officials refused to give a crowd estimate, but the Zocalo can hold nearly 100,000 people. Tens of thousands overflowed into the surrounding streets, unable to squeeze into the square. Thousands more protested in cities across the country.

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