Eleven people were kidnapped from an after-hours bar in Mexico City Sunday morning. Zona Rosa, a popular tourist district lined with restaurants, dance clubs and offices, is the locale of the mass abduction. Relatives told the Associated Press the 11 abductees were taken between 10 a.m. and noon about 1 ½ blocks from the United States’ Embassy.
The Associated Press reports:
The incident was the second recent high-publicity blemish for the city’s largely unregulated entertainment scene, coming 20 days after the grandson of American civil rights activist Malcolm X was beaten to death at another tough bar in the downtown area.
Calling for authorities to find their loved ones, family members marched Thursday morning from the Interior Department building to the Zocalo, the city’s main square. Later they protested outside the bar, which bears a sign that reads Bicentenario Restaurante-Bar, and demanded to see the bar’s surveillance video.
“How could so many people have disappeared, just like that, in broad daylight?” said Josefina Garcia, mother of Said Sanchez Garcia, 19, her only son. “The police say they don’t have them, so what, the earth just opened up and swallowed them?”
She said her son wasn’t involved in any criminal activity, and worked at a market stall selling beauty products.
City prosecutors said they had received 11 missing-person reports, but Garcia said residents of the tough downtown neighborhood of Tepito where the victims live thought as many as 15 or 16 people could have been abducted.
The known missing include six men, most in their 20s, a 16-year-old boy and four young women.
Mass abductions are rare in Mexico City, but it is also an area rife with drug cartel wars and explosive violence.
Isabel Fonseca’s brother, Eulogio Fonseca, is among the missing. She alleges a man who escaped before he was kidnapped told her several masked men came to the bar in white SUVs and abducted the group.
“We want them alive,” Fonseca said. “They went out to have fun; they are not criminals.”
The bar has been closed as Mexico City’s anti-kidnapping unit conducts an investigation at the site. Not much is known about the disappearances according to Mexico City’s chief prosecutor, Rodolfo Rios.