November 27, 2008 / 3:49 AM / 11 years ago

Jews, Buddhists pray for end to Mexican drug war

TIJUANA, Mexico (Reuters) - Thousands of Buddhists, Roman Catholics, Christian Evangelicals, Hare Krishnas and Jews joined on Wednesday to pray for an end to Mexico’s drug war, which has killed some 4,500 people this year.

Surrounded by giant candles, dancing Hare Krishnas, bearded Orthodox rabbis and robed Catholic priests prayed for hours in a convention center in the violent U.S.-Mexico border city of Tijuana. About 3,500 people took part in the demonstration.

“Thousands of us have prayed for the same cause,” said event organizer and Catholic worshiper Lidia Aceves. “We are Catholics, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Hare Krishnas and Jews who are tired of the violence, with God as our only hope.”

Mexico is facing spiraling drug violence, especially along its border with the United States, and cities such as Tijuana are seeing horrendous levels of crime, with bodies set on fire, cut up and dumped in acid and strung over highways.

Beheadings, kidnappings and daylight shootings have become a daily occurrence as vicious drug cartels fight over smuggling routes into the United States.

President Felipe Calderon has sent some 40,000 troops and federal police across Mexico to try to stop the killings but despite major drug seizures and arrests, they continue.

Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Bill Trott

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