Police shooting sparks Mexico protest

2013-01-03 22:33
People have marched in Mexico with the coffins of four men killed as they allegedly tried to steal the body of a dead drug boss. (Fernando Antonio, AP)

People have marched in Mexico with the coffins of four men killed as they allegedly tried to steal the body of a dead drug boss. (Fernando Antonio, AP)

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Veracruz - Hundreds of people marched in eastern Mexico with the coffins of four men killed in December as they allegedly tried to steal the body of a dead drug boss, local media reported.

The protesters, relatives and friends of the four killed, carried signs proclaiming they "didn't deserve to die", accusing the police who shot them of being "thugs" as they marched in the town of Ixhuatlan del Cafe on Wednesday.

On 29 December, Veracruz state police said they "had repelled an attack and shot dead four criminals" who tried to steal the body of Angel "El Pokemon" Enrique Uscanga leader of the Los Zetas cartel in the city of Cordoba.

The four men, aged 28 to 37, were all killed.

Veracruz, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, has been a site of growing violence between the Zetas - set up in the 1990s by former elite soldiers turned hired killers - and their former allies the Gulf cartel.

On 7 October, Mexican authorities killed the national leader of the Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano, or "El Lazca", in northern Mexico. Hours later, his body was stolen from a funeral home by an armed group.

At least 70 000 people were killed between 2006 and 2012 as former president Felipe Calderon launched a major crackdown against powerful drug gangs, the new government of the PRI party has said.

Calderon acknowledged during his tenure that many of the victims were innocent, though his government never gave precise figures.

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