Ciudad Juárez, Mexico – Hundreds of residents of Ciudad Juárez, Mexico's murder capital, took part in the Stations of the Cross this weekend to remember the victims of drug-related violence and demand an end to the wave of killings.
Parishioners from the Mater Dolorosa Church in the southern section of the border city followed the Way of the Cross Saturday morning, placing photographs of crime victims on the cross of Jesus Christ to remember those gunned down in recent years in Ciudad Juárez, located across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas.
"The idea is to pray for our victims and our dead, and to ask for a definitive end to the violence in Juárez," Manuel Torres, a member of the parish and relative of a man gunned down in 2011, told Efe.
The majority of the parishes in the border city marked the Stations of the Cross on Good Friday, but Mater Dolorosa Church decided to do so on Holy Saturday for logistical and organizational reaons.
Ciudad Juárez is considered the world's second most violent city, ranking only behind San Pedro Sula, Honduras, a Citizens Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice, or CCSPJP, report said.
The sprawling border city of about 1.5 million people has been plagued by drug-related violence for years.
The Juárez cartel has been battling the rival Sinaloa cartel for control of smuggling routes from Ciudad Juárez into the United States.
The border city, which topped the list of the world's deadliest cities for three consecutive years, dropped to second place last year with 148 homicides for every 100,000 residents.
The murder rate took off in Ciudad Juárez in 2007, when 310 people were killed, then it more than tripled to 1,607 in 2008, according to Chihuahua state Attorney General's Office figures, with the number of killings climbing to 2,754 in 2009.
More than 3,100 people were murdered in the border city in 2010, making it the worst year since the cartel turf war sent the homicide rate skyrocketing in 2008.
Nearly 2,000 people were murdered in Juárez in 2011.