Five shot dead in popular Mexico City tourist plaza

Five shot dead in popular Mexico City tourist plaza

The brazen bandits opened fire at a road crossing on the edge of Plaza Garibaldi, a major tourist attraction packed with mariachi bars, then sped off on motorcycles, police said. It's unclear whether the shooting was motivated by gang violence, but the Times notes that a district infested with drugs and gangs lies about a mile away.

Plaza Garibaldi borders Mexico City's Tepito neighbourhood, home to La Union gang, which police say is responsible for a number of drug-dealing and protection rackets. No arrests have been made. Many head to the square for Independence Day celebrations on the eve of September 16.

Similar festivities planned for two cities in Guerrero and another in Guanajuato were canceled due to recent violence, local media said.

Lisa Sanchez, director of Mexicans United Against Delinquency, described the shooting as a "piercing portrait" of Mexico.

The prosecutors' office said investigators were trying to find those responsible for the attack.

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On Saturday night, President Enrique Pena Nieto is set to shout "Viva Mexico" - or "Long Live Mexico" - shortly before midnight from a balcony of the National Palace. Mariachi musicians returned to the square around the same time the shooting took place a day prior.

The roots of mariachi music in Mexico City can be traced to a bar that dominates one side of the plaza.

A video posted online shows a musician at a Plaza Garibaldi eatery strumming Mexican tune "La Cucaracha" on a harp without pausing for a moment as multiple shots rang out nearby.

In another, brass instruments and melancholic voices fill the air as the flashing lights of police vehicles descend on the plaza. Malcolm X's grandson Malcolm Shabazz was found beaten to death outside a bar there in 2013 after a dispute over a bill.

Officials in the Mexican capital have blamed the rise in crime on drug dealing and protection rackets, while the government claims that at least one of the city's violent gangs is connected to the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.

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