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Destruction of Mexican 'Death Saint' shrines protested

The Mexican government's destruction of "Death Saint" shrines was protested by about 200 worshippers Sunday, Yahoo News has reported. The worshippers said that the destruction of the shrines is religious persecution.

Protestors marched from a Mexico City neighborhood to the Metropolitan Cathedral while chanting, "We are believers, not criminals!"

The shrines are being destroyed due to their popularity with drug traffickers, who often leave shrines to the saint during raids on cartel safe houses.

The Death Saint, which is depicted in a similar manner to the Grim Reaper wearing a robe, is believed to protect against untimely or violent deaths. Those who worship the saint will pray to the saint for protection or leave candles. Tens of thousands of people worship the Death Saint in small churches and chapels.

Over 30 shrines were destroyed by army troops and workers last month in the city of Nuevo Laredo.

David Romo, the archbishop of the Death Saint worshiping sect, said the destruction of the shrines was religious persecution and demanded a meeting with President Felipe Calderon.

"Sometimes people look down on us because we believe in her, but my faith is bigger than somebody looking down on me," America Melendez, a 24-year-old street vendor, said as he marched with a red-robed statue of the saint.