Feb. 27 - Residents march through the streets of Mexico's Culiacan calling for the release of jailed drug lord Joaquin ''El Chapo'' Guzman. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) More than a thousand people marched through the streets of the capital of captured Mexican drug lord Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman's home state on Wednesday (February 26), calling for his freedom. The largely young crowd, many dressed in white, bore signs that read "We want Shorty Freed" as they filed across the centre of Culiacan, in the north-western state of Sinaloa, to a church on a palm tree-lined plaza. Boys donned white t-shirts scrawled with messages written in marker pen in support for "El Chapo," his nickname in Spanish. Teenage girls in school uniform chanted "Chapo, Chapo." Guzman, who rose from humble origins to become one of the most powerful drug barons in history, was captured on Saturday in a raid in the beachside resort and fishing center of Mazatlan, 125 miles southeast of Culiacan. Brass bands played songs known to be favorites of Guzman, Mexico's most wanted man and Chicago's first public enemy No. 1 since notorious mobster Al Capone. Guzman and his Sinaloa cartel are suspected of shipping billions of dollars worth of cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and marijuana north across the border into the United States. The march took on a festive mood as the demonstrators walked to the city's central Cathedral. A banner at the march read: "We don't want another war, free Chapo." Two women held another that read "Chapo, give me a child." Some in the crowd credited Guzman and his gang for keeping the city free of the extortions and kidnappings that plague other parts of Mexico, where rival gangs reign. One printed sign said: "We respect El Chapo more than any elected official." It was unclear exactly who had organized the march. At the start, young men handed out white t-shirts and professionally printed banners. Flyers advertising the march had been distributed in the city earlier in the day and many residents thought it was a joke. Political marches are common in Mexico, but not demonstrations in favor of wanted drug kingpins.