The men and women took to the stage in the Mexico City’s vast plaza and tearfully told stories of how they lost their loved ones: how a son was kidnapped, tortured and dumped dead in a car trunk; how a brother was killed for standing up to gangsters; how a child died in crossfire.
But while such stories have become tragically common in Mexico, this was the first time the mourners could vent their grief in front of tens of thousands of sympathizers and TV cameras from across the world.
And in this media spotlight, the protesters made a new demand — amid the failure of the government to provide security, they cried, the Public Safety Secretary Genaro Garcia Luna must resign.
“We don’t want more dead. We don’t want more hate,” protest leader Javier Sicilia told the crowd. “President Felipe Calderon — show you are listening to us and make the public safety secretary resign.”
The demand announced at Sunday’s rally gave a new edge to a movement that has been steadily rising amid the massacres and mass graves of Mexico’s drug war.