05/01/13 03:35 CET
| updated xx mn ago
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Thousands of toy guns that look like the real thing have been destroyed in a symbolic ceremony in Mexico City.
The authorities say many are used by criminals taking advantage of the fact the victims cannot tell whether or not they are genuine.
The fake guns were seized from stores in the capital and surrounding area as part of an operation to prevent violence.
“At least three out of 10 violent crimes committed in Mexico City are carried out using these kinds of fake weapons. Three out of 10,” said the mayor of Mexico City, Miguel Mancera.
Laws in Mexico require that toy weapons are different in size and colour from real guns.
The authorities said the recent massacre at a US primary school influenced the operation.
It took place days before Epiphany when children traditionally receive presents.
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