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Union condemns attacks against journalists during protests in Venezuela



Twenty journalists were attacked, and eleven were arrested during the protests that took place in several cities across Venezuela last week, says a report issued by the Media Workers National Press Union (SNTP). ​

Protests in Caracas, Venezuela Feb. 12, 2014. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The report says that eleven journalists were arrested between Wednesday, Feb. 12 and Sunday, Feb. 16. According to El Mundo, five of those were “beaten and hurt by the national guard”, and another five were robbed of their personal belongings and cell phones by agents in the same agency. The robbery victims were also stripped of the journalistic material and tools they had on them, said El Mundo.

The union claims that the press workers’ right to work and safety were violently threatened.

“The secretary general of the SNTP, Marco Ruiz, condemned the actions of the uniformed officers against the journalists and warned that they will be reported to the attorney general’s office,” said the union's press release, according to Infobae.

The SNTP report also condemns the case of the Colombian channel, NTN24, that was removed from Venezuelan airwaves in retaliation for its reporting on the protests last week

With the release of the report, Ruiz hopes to be able to stop the force that the national police and national guard are exerting on press organizations, said El Universal. Ruiz also announced that he plans to ask for the help of the International Federation of Journalists in reporting the attacks to human rights organizations.

In response to separate attacks on journalists by civilian protesters, Ruiz asked that the public respect press workers, emphasizing that they are not the enemy but allies in spreading the public's message in the midst of Venezuela's social crisis, said El Universal

According to El País, in the last few days the Venezuelan government has repeatedly accused the “bourgeoisie” national and international media of manipulating information about Venezuela.

Three people have died, dozens have been injured, and there have been more than a hundred arrests since the protests began Feb. 12, said El País.  The protests erupted after a peaceful, student march opposing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro deteriorated into a violent encounter with pro-government  groups.



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