Women Protest Killings in Mexican Border City

Some 50 women dressed in black, members of a caravan that left Mexico City several days ago, staged a protest in Ciudad Juarez to demand that officials clear up the deaths of hundreds of young women in the border city over the past nearly two decades.

Participants in the “Exodus for Life” protest, which was held on Monday, went to the field where the bodies of eight women were found buried in 2001.

The mothers of some of the murdered women and representatives of grassroots organizations in Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located, ended the caravan at the field in an effort to draw public attention to the issue of violence against women in Mexico.

The women placed wreaths at the base of crosses that mark the spot where the bodies of the eight young women were found.

A bell made from keys donated by women’s groups was also placed at the site.

The caravan of automobiles left the Zocalo, Mexico City’s giant main square, on Nov. 10 and reached Juarez, which is located across the border from El Paso, Texas, on Monday.

The protesters took some time to remember women’s rights activist Irma Campos, who died Sunday from cancer.

Campos, one of the caravan’s organizers, had wanted to participate in the ceremony at the field.

Ciudad Juarez, considered Mexico’s most dangerous city and the scene of frequent shootouts between rival drug traffickers, first gained notoriety in the early 1990s when young women began to disappear in the area.

So far this year, Juarez has registered more than 2,000 murders, with some 200 people killed in November alone.

More than 500 women have been killed in Ciudad Juarez since 1993, according to the National Human Rights Commission, with the majority of the cases going unsolved.

In most of the slayings, the victims were young women from poor families who came to the border city from all over Mexico to work in the many assembly plants, known as “maquiladoras,” built there to take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Investigators have not determined who is behind the killings, although there has been speculation that serial killers, organized crime, people traffickers, drug smugglers and child pornographers, among others, may be involved.

The wave of killings of women and girls has sparked international outrage.

Investigations conducted by Congress found that some 6,000 women were murdered across Mexico between 1999 and 2005. EFE

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=347986&CategoryId=14091

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