About 100 doctors escorted by police staged a silent march through the streets of Monterrey, the capital of the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon, to protest the crime wave that has affected many members of the medical profession.

The doctors, wearing white coats and with their faces covered, work at different hospitals and clinics in Monterrey, Mexico's third-largest city.

The doctors gathered Saturday at the Colegio Civil plaza and marched to the Explanada de Los Heroes, which is across from the government palace.

Heavily armed municipal and transit police officers escorted the doctors, who refused to identify themselves.

The protesters said they would not make any statements to the media and wished to remain anonymous.

The Nuevo Leon College of Surgeons published a message in the media Friday criticizing Gov. Rodrigo Medina's handling of the crime wave in the state.

One of the doctors called on officials to deal with the drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon.

"They have to listen to us, who are calling for peace for all the people of Nuevo Leon, not just for the medical community! We are doing this for our families, we want them (officials) to quickly clear up all the cases of injustice," the unidentified doctor said.

Attacks on doctors have increased this year, with members of the medical profession being subjected to death threats and becoming the victims of auto robberies, kidnappings and other crimes, the Mexican Social Security Institute's representative in Nuevo Leon, Jorge Luis Hinojosa, said.

The health service's members have been the victims of between 50 and 60 auto thefts and kidnappings this year, Hinojosa said.

The Nuevo Leon division of the Mexican Social Security Institute has 3,500 doctors and 5,000 nurses on its payroll.

Medical facilities in both urban and rural areas have been targeted by criminals, officials said.

Prosecutors are investigating complaints filed by health-care workers and have met with the medical association, state officials said.

Some doctors in Nuevo Leon, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they had been kidnapped by drug cartels and forced to treat wounded members of criminal organizations.

The Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels have been fighting for control of Nuevo Leon and smuggling routes into the United States.

The wave of drug-related violence in Nuevo Leon claimed the lives of 2,003 people in 2011, official figures show. EFE