Latin America & Caribbean

Mexico violence: Clowns protest over Acapulco murder rate

People dressed as clowns protest on the main avenues in Acapulco, Guerrero, Mexico, 07 May 2018. Image copyright EPA
Image caption The clowns marched down some of the resort's main avenues

Clowns dressed in white marched down a central street in the Mexican resort of Acapulco on Monday demanding an end to the city's crime wave.

With their faces painted and carrying signs reading "peace", they said that they were "tired of so much violence".

They complained that they were losing business because residents no longer threw parties out of fear of becoming targets of crime.

In April, 100 people were killed in the resort town.

Officials said they had recorded almost 50 more murders in the first three months of 2018 than in the same period last year.

Most of the murders are believed to be related to warfare between rival criminal gangs in the region.

'Terror'

The clowns said they had been particularly shocked by the murder of a juggler earlier this year. They said that the rise in crime had spread terror in the city which had made it hard for them to make a living.

Acapulco was once a glamorous destination popular with Hollywood stars but the high number of homicides has put off many tourists.

Paramedics in the city have told the BBC they struggle to deal with the amount of violence they see as part of their jobs.

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Media captionThe Paramedic couple who mostly collect bodies

In January, the US state department prohibited US government employees from travelling to the state of Guerrero, including Acapulco.

It warned of armed groups "operating independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero".

"Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travellers," the advice said.

Federal police and soldiers were deployed to the resort in December 2014 but have so far failed to quell the violence.

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