Catholic leaders were prominent in the May 8 march, which began in Cuernavaca, 40 miles south of Mexico City, three days earlier. It gained increasing numbers, media attention and controversy as it converged on the capital for a rally in which many participants chanted slogans calling for the departure of President Felipe Calderon.Catholic poet Javier Sicilia, whose son, Juan Francisco, was murdered March 28 in Cuernavaca, led the march, which began with a blessing from Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo. It ended with Sicilia marching arm-in-arm with Father Jose Alejandro Solalinde, whose fight to protect undocumented migrants from criminal groups in Oaxaca state has drawn nationwide attention."We've walked and we've arrived like this, in silence, because our pain is so great and so deep, and the horror of where it comes from so immense, that we no longer have words," Sicilia said in central Mexico City."When and where did we lose our dignity?" asked Sicilia, whose son's body was found stuffed into a car with six others."Why is the president of republic permitted and why has he decided to send the army into the streets in an absurd war that has cost us 40,000 victims and left millions of Mexicans in fear and uncertainty?"The march left Cuernavaca with several hundred protesters, but its ranks swelled to more than 50,000 participants by the final day, organizers said. Some made no secret of their affiliations with political parties and unions long hostile to Calderon's administration. Many of the protesters clutched signs reading, "No more blood," and, "We've had it up to here." Others held photos of victims."The government hasn't been able to develop policies to stop the violence," said Beatriz Garcia, whose co-worker was found murdered in Mexico City."We're praying for peace and security," said Sister Monserrat Morales Hernandez, a member of the Missionaries of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.Smaller marcheswere held in cities such as Guadalajara, Saltillo and Ciudad Juarez."We're tired of living with impunity, injustice, hopelessness, desperation, violence and the deaths of a war that we didn't choose," Bishop Vera said before the march in Saltillo. "We're here because we love our country and we want to reclaim it.Father Oscar Enriquez, a human rights advocate in Ciudad Juarez, participated in a May 7 march in the border city and found fault with the federal government's security policies, which he said "have not decreased the indices of crime" and have led to the deaths of "many innocent people."Calderon appeared on nationwide TV May 4, appealing for support and calling for unity during Cinco de Mayo festivities. "We need to redouble the efforts and we also need you," he said.The president later issued a statement saying he supported the marchers.—CNS{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/0513/mexico/{/gallery}