December 1, 2020

By Carlos Carrillo

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A few hundred people marched in central Mexico City on Monday to protest the killing of a French businessman and his Mexican colleague over the weekend, the latest violent crime to inflame concerns about security in the country.

The demonstrators marched along a main thoroughfare of the wealthy western neighborhood of Polanco to a restaurant run by Baptiste Lormand, 45, and his business partner, Luis Orozco, before leaving flowers outside the French embassy nearby.

Local residents and business owners took part, with one protester holding up a placard reading in Spanish: “When there’s no justice, the authorities become accomplices.”

Lormand and Orozco were reported missing on Friday and their bodies found by a dirt road in a southern district of the capital on Saturday, Mexico City prosecutors said.

Polanco resident Israel Reyes said he was deeply saddened by the killing and shocked that such a crime had occurred in an area generally deemed to be among the safest in the city.

“I think there’s now a great responsibility on society and the authorities for us to restore order,” Reyes said.

Mexico City police chief Omar Harfuch, who was the target of an assassination attempt near Polanco five months ago, said a man believed to have been involved in the killings had been arrested on Monday.

Harfuch said investigators suspected robbery was behind the crime, although some at the march said the Frenchman and his partner were victims of extortion.

President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office two years ago pledging to reduce record levels of gang-fueled violence. Instead, the bloodshed has only increased.

Murders hit another record in 2019, and are on track to surpass that mark this year, official data show.

(Reporting by Carlos Carrillo. Editing by Gerry Doyle)

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