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Collectives protest against femicides in Mexico

Hundreds of women marched through downtown Mexico City and its suburbs on Sunday to protest the murder of an 18-year-old woman in the northern city of Monterrey and demand the attorney general's office conduct a proper investigation into the death. The body of Debanhi Escobar was found Thursday in a cistern at a motel, almost two weeks after she had gone missing. The demonstrators, mainly women, carried signs reading “No to Harassment” and “Mexico is a mass grave” and attempted to call attention to the women who have been killed, including Escobar, and those who remain missing. In Mexico City, the march was largely peaceful, unlike many previous women’s rights demonstrations in recent years. The demonstrators did not spray-paint slogans on the Angel, a tall stone monumental shaft commemorating the country’s independence. Instead, they taped small missing posters on it, each one describing the disappearance of a woman, many depicting Escobar. Overall in Mexico, the number of missing people of all genders has risen to over 100,000. Activists say police and prosecutors have been slow and ineffective in investigating the cases. Those criticisms were reinforced when the father of Escobar said authorities had searched the motel several times. But it wasn't until workers reported a foul odor coming from an underground water tank that investigators finally found her body. She had died from a blow to the head, apparently soon after she was last seen April 8. Her case shocked Mexico because the young woman was left on the side of a highway late at night, purportedly after a taxi driver tried to fondle her. The case made headlines because of a haunting photo taken by the driver, who was supposed to get her home that night. The driver, who worked for a taxi app, took the photo to show the 18-year-old got out of his car alive on the outskirts of Monterrey. There she was, a young woman standing alone at night on the side of a highway, wearing a skirt and high-top sneakers. Nobody saw her again until late Thursday when investigators managed to pull her body from the 12-foot (4-meter) deepwater tank near a pool at the roadside motel. On Sunday at the attorney general's office, Guadalupe, mother of a missing woman, told AP justice seems to be going backwards in Mexico. Killings of women have increased in recent years in Mexico, rising from 977 in 2020 to 1,015 in 2021. Those were just cases classified as "femicides" a legal term used in Mexico when women are killed because of their gender. Killings of women overall are much higher. Disappearances of women remain high, with about 1,600 reported missing so far this year. Officials say 829 of them are still listed as missing, and 16 were found dead.

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