Mexican President Felipe Calderon speaks at the White House during a Washington visit March 3, 2011. UPI/Roger L. Wollenberg. | License Photo
MEXICO CITY, May 9 (UPI) -- Tens of thousands of people protested in Mexico City against violence raging since President Felipe Calderon began a crackdown on drug cartels, officials said.
Organizers at a Sunday march offered a manifesto calling for political reforms and a shift in crime strategy to improve the safety of Mexican citizens while rooting out corruption and ending impunity that allows wrongdoers to escape meaningful punishment, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Demonstrations also were conducted in Washington and across Europe.
Protesters in Mexico City called on the United States to staunch the southbound flow of weapons that help arm the cartels.
Demonstrators carrying signs that read "No more blood!" and "We're fed up!" urged Calderon to end the military-led strategy.
Calderon has said it would be irresponsible to change direction in the government's battle against Mexico's powerful drug-trafficking organizations.
Mexican media, citing police officials, estimated 90,000 demonstrators filled a plaza, but organizers said the number was more than double the police total.
The march was led by poet Javier Sicilia, a frequent critic of Mexican leaders and the drug war. Sicilia's son and six other people were captured and killed by gunmen in Cuernavaca in March.
Sicilia and a group of several hundred marchers left Cuernavaca, about 60 miles south of the capital, on Thursday, picking up protesters as they walked to Mexico City.
Since Calderon took office about 4 1/2 years ago and declared war on Mexico's drug cartels, more than 34,000 people have been killed.