Prisoners' families stage demo against shoot plans

MEXICO CITY — Families of inmates protested last week against Mel Gibson’s upcoming project “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” outside the prison in the Mexican state of Veracruz where shooting is set to begin in March.

Gibson toplines the action drama, based on a screenplay he penned.

Veracruz Governor Fidel Herrera indicated in early December that inmates would be transferred to an undisclosed location during the shoot. In Mexico, inmates’ families are their only source of food and clean clothing, and a move would require them to move to the new location as well.

Around 300 protesters, mostly women, began camping outside the prison on Dec. 27 after police or military officials were seen filming or taking photographs around the building.

It turned into a full-blown protest two days later as families feared that security forces were preparing to move the prisoners ahead of the holiday. Demonstrators held up signs reading, “Mel Gibson, it’s your fault they are moving our family members” and “Don’t take them away, they aren’t animals.”

The film, which is set in San Diego and Veracruz, tells the story of a career criminal who is thrown into prison for trafficking drugs, where he meets a 9-year-old boy who helps him adjust to life there.

Relatives ended the protest after assurances from the prison director that they would be informed when the inmates were about to be moved.

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