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#USTired2: rallies to hit California cities for missing students in Mexico




Members of Federal Police (L) confront protesters (R) outside Mexico's National Palace on Zocalo square in Mexico City, on November 20, 2014, over the safe return of 43 students who went missing in southern Mexico after an attack by gang-linked police last September 26. Protesters angry at the presumed massacre of 43 students clashed with police after a massive march demanding President Enrique Pena Nieto's resignation. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Federal Police (L) confront protesters (R) outside Mexico's National Palace on Zocalo square in Mexico City, on November 20, 2014, over the safe return of 43 students who went missing in southern Mexico after an attack by gang-linked police last September 26. Protesters angry at the presumed massacre of 43 students clashed with police after a massive march demanding President Enrique Pena Nieto's resignation. AFP PHOTO/Alfredo ESTRELLA (Photo credit should read ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images)
ALFREDO ESTRELLA/AFP/Getty Images

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Vigils and marches are set to take place in at least 43 US cities today. That number represents the 43 missing students in Mexico.

The students disappeared in September after they were fired upon and taken by armed police in the Mexican state of Guerrero.

The ongoing issue has prompted widespread protests within Mexico. Now protesters outside the country are turning their criticism to a US program aimed at fighting drug violence in Mexico.

The program is called the Mérida Initiative, also known as Plan Mexico. Since its inception in 2007, the US has spent more than $2 billion on the program, according to the State Department.

"The money for military training and money for intelligence is supposedly to fight the drug cartels, but it's not happening," said Ruben Tapia, one of the organizers of the march in Los Angeles.

The issue has struck a chord with Mexicans both in and outside the country because of growing frustration with corruption and a lack of law and order, said Tapia.

"The 43 students were picked up and disappeared by policemen from Iguala, Guerrero and official police patrols," said Tapia. "This is happening in every day life in Mexico."

More about the USTired2 campaign here.