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Mexican Congress Approves Anti-Protest Law As Street Demonstrations Continue

The Human Rights Committee in Mexico's Congress has approved a proposal restricting protests in Mexico City, the scene of continuing demonstrations against President Enrique Peña Nieto's energy and education reform packages.

Since Monday, when the Mexican Senate approved an energy reform that would permit foreign investment in Mexico's state-owned oil monopoly, opponents of the plan have taken to the streets, clogging major arteries and causing mounting traffic chaos in one of the world's largest cities.

Opponents to the energy reform proposal say Mexico is about to cede control of its most valuable natural resource to foreign companies, a claim that resonates with Mexican nationalists.

The proposed anti-protest law is inspiring even stronger opposition.

The Democratic Labor Party and a smaller party known as the Citizens Movement say they will challenge the constitutionality of the proposed law, which is expected to be debated on the floor of the Mexican Congress early in 2014.

The Mexico City representative in Mexico's Congress, Karen Quiroga, says the anti-protest proposal s not supported by the independent government that controls the federal district of Mexico City, the capital of Mexico.

She says the plan violates freedom of expression and represents meddling in the internal affairs of Mexico City while leaving the rules of engagement for protests in other states untouched.

Amnesty International is one of 70 nonprofit organizations that says the law violates the Mexican Constitution, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the American Convention on Human Rights.