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Prison vacated for Mel Gibson film

Nearly 300 inmates were removed from a prison in Mexico to allow US actor Mel Gibson to begin shooting for a film later this month. Relatives of prisoners are up in arms against this because...

india Updated: Jan 11, 2010 18:16 IST

Mel Gibson

Nearly 300 inmates were removed from a prison in the eastern Mexican state of Veracruz over the weekend to allow US actor Mel Gibson to begin shooting a film later this month at the facility, officials said.

Police and soldiers moved the inmates out of the Ignacio Allende prison, located in the port city of Veracruz and housing some 1,000 prisoners.

The security forces closed streets near the prison, which is on one of the main streets in Veracruz, located some 400 km east of Mexico City, so the inmates could be transported to other facilities aboard about a dozen buses.

The operation began shortly before midnight Friday and ended around 3 a.m. Saturday.

Several dozen relatives of prisoners staged a protest, claiming the move would force them to travel a greater distance to visit their loved ones and cost them more money.

The demonstrators confronted the security forces, but the operation was completed successfully.

The inmates transferred in the operation are being held on murder, robbery, drug trafficking, kidnapping and other charges.

The inmates were moved to state prisons in the cities of Acayucan, Coatzacoalcos, Tuxpan, Cosamaloapan, Papantla and San Andres Tuxtla.

A new prison is being built to replace the Ignacio Allende penitentiary, officials said.

Filming for the Gibson project, whose subject is not known, is expected to last several months.

Gibson, one of Hollywood's biggest names, filmed his 2006 Maya epic Apocalypto in Veracruz state.