(Bloomberg) -- Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador downplayed a weekend incident where his party’s candidate was stopped on a highway by masked men, and accused media and civil organizations for exaggerating violence during the electoral period.  

Morena candidate Claudia Sheinbaum and her entourage were stopped at a road block on Sunday on a highway near the border with Guatemala by a group of masked men, who can be heard in a video published by online outlet Latinus asking the candidate to address gang violence in the area. 

Lopez Obrador said such road blocks “are very common” when you tour parts of Mexico by road. He said the area near where Sheinbaum was stopped was in dispute by two criminal groups and that national guard troops stationed there were addressing the situation. 

Just last Friday, the US embassy in Mexico restricted its employees from travel in the part of Chiapas where Sheinbaum was traveling. The president accused media as well as a local non-governmental organization of exaggerating violence in the state. 

“I’m not saying there isn’t violence, I’m saying they are magnifying things,” Lopez Obrador said during his morning media conference.

Read More: Mexico’s Murders Top 170,000 as AMLO Directs Military Elsewhere 

Last Friday, a mayoral candidate was murdered in the northern state of Tamaulipas while another local hopeful was found dead in Oaxaca. Mexico’s current election, its biggest ever with over 20,000 positions up for grabs on June 2, has been estimated to be the most violent in the country’s modern history by Mexico City-based Integralia Consultores.

Lopez Obrador said Monday that presidential candidates were satisfied with the security details they currently have and had not requested additional protection.   


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