Mexico state assembly passes anti-protest law

FILE - In this April 9, 2019 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks during a signing ceremony in an agreement with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at the National Palace in Mexico City. Mexican officials said Monday, July 22, 2019, they have uncovered an industrial-scale migrant smuggling ring using tractor-trailer rigs disguised as freight deliveries for major companies. Lopez Obrador said authorities found a tractor-trailer disguised with the logo of a major grocery store chain. But instead of groceries, it was carrying about 150 migrants. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte, File)

The home state of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has passed a law punishing some protests with prison

MEXICO CITY — The home state of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has passed a law punishing some protests with prison.

Lopez Obrador himself frequently led disruptive protests in the Gulf coast state of Tabasco in the 1990s.

But on Tuesday he praised the law, saying some protests had gotten out of hand and "order had to be restored."

The bill approved Monday sets prison sentences of 6 to 13 years for demonstrators who "fully or partially block free transit of people, vehicles or other specialized machinery used in public or private works projects."

Lopez Obrador's pet project is a government oil refinery in Tabasco, which critics oppose on financial and environmental grounds.

Amnesty International Americas Director Erika Guevara Rosas called the law "a clear violation of freedom of expression in Mexico."

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