Mexicans protest at US embassy over gun smuggling

MEXICO CITY (AFP) - Dozens of people protested outside the United States (US) embassy in Mexico on Monday, urging the US to act to stop the smuggling of guns into their country and halt deportations of illegal migrants.

Activists have said that loose US gun laws are partly to blame for the soaring drug-related violence in Mexico because it allowed gangs to build up an arsenal of assault rifles bought across the border.

The flow of migrants sneaking through the 3,200km US-Mexican border has also been a major focal point in bilateral relations.

As US President Barack Obama was publicly sworn in to a second term on Monday, around 10 children in Mexico City held a sign urging Mr Obama to "fulfill your promise".

Standing in front of the embassy's tall fence, the protesters shouted: "Migrants are not criminals, we are international workers".

Mr Jose Francisco Chavira Martinez, president of the University of North Tamaulipas, a border state, said the protesters want Mr Obama to launch a moratorium on deportations until immigration reform is enacted.

They also called for an end to arms trafficking, "which causes thousands of victims", he said.

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