Twelve decapitated bodies bearing signs of torture were found on Thursday in eastern Mexico, while Mexicans across the country planned candlelight vigils in a call for the government to stop the killing.
The protests come amid daily reports of gruesome murders and massacres, particularly in Chihuahua state, where drug cartels are fighting a turf war for control of key drug routes to the US.
Eleven headless male bodies were found piled on top of each other and covered with blankets in a suburb of the city of Merida, the capital of Yucatan state.
Some of the cadavers had their legs tied, a photographer said. One was completely naked, while others wore denim clothing. Some of the murdered men had tattooed arms.
A twelfth body was found in a town called Buctzotz, 70km northeast of Merida. Its head was also missing.
The drug war has left more than 2,600 dead in Mexico so far this year.
Just four drug-related murders had been reported in Yucatan this year, El Universal newspaper reported.
Decapitated bodies have appeared in southern and northern Mexico and authorities say they are revenge killings between rival drug cartels.
Meanwhile, protests were planned nationwide for today, with participants expected to dress in white and carry candles to push the government to act over the spike in murders, kidnappings and police corruption.
Violence has only increased since Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who took office at the end of 2006, launched a crackdown on drug trafficking that included deploying more than 36,000 soldiers.
After Mexican leaders last week signed a national security pact, including tougher sentences for kidnappers, Calderon also blamed citizens for their apathy.
“The rule of law in Mexico has been threatened by criminals that, for years, have been fed by tolerance and sometimes the corruption of some authorities and also the indifference and apathy of many citizens,” he said.
Organizers of this weekend’s protest plan to prove him wrong, and look to similar actions in the past.
A massive rise in the number of kidnappings in 1997 and a high-profile case in 2004 both inspired thousands to take to the streets, forcing the government to carry out police purges and reforms.
Afterwards, both times, the official kidnapping rate dropped for a while.
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