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Feb 12, 6:36 PM EST

Thousands march in Mexico to demand respect, reject Trump

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AP Photo/Christian Palma

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MEXICO CITY (AP) -- About 20,000 people staged a march through Mexico's capital Sunday demanding respect for their country and its migrants in the face of perceived hostility from the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump.

Many marchers carried Mexican flags and dressed in white as a sign of unity and to signal the non-political nature of the march. One of the banners read: "Gracias, Trump, for unifying Mexico!"

The marchers protested Trump's plans for a border wall and increased deportations of migrants. Trump has also pressured U.S. corporations to provide jobs in the United States, not Mexico.

Paulina Ortega carried a placard in English proclaiming: "We love Americans, we hate racism."

"This is a march for dignity," she said.

Irene Aguilar, a university professor, said the main message of the marchers was to show the unity of Mexicans in the face of adversity.

The march also featured many signs supporting Mexican migrants living in the United States.

"We want demonstrate to all of those who suffer discrimination in the United States that we are with them," said Ana Fernanda Islas, a university student.

Mexicans have called for unity in facing the challenge posed by Trump's policies, but the march featured almost as many banners criticizing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto as the new U.S. leader.

Smaller marches were held in other Mexican cities Sunday.

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This story has been corrected to show that the family name of first marcher quoted is Ortega.

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