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JOURNALISM IN THE AMERICAS Blog

Police and demonstrators attack 20 journalists during Independence Day protests in Brazil




By Abraji

The Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji in Portuguese) registered 21 cases of violations against 20 journalists during the protests on Saturday, Sept. 7. Police agents were behind 85% of the attacks -- or 18 cases -- most of which involved the use of pepper spray. The number may increase as more cases are confirmed.

The 21 cases that have been documented by Abraji are available on a document available through this link. The information can also be found in another document at the end of this story.

Brasilia was the most violent city for journalists that day: 12 journalists were victims of aggressions, all of which involved the Military Police. Newspaper Metro photographer Ricardo Marques fainted after police officers discharged pepper spray on his face. One of his cameras was robbed.

Another photographer, Monique Renne with Coreio Brazilense, recorded the moment when one of the officers discharged pepper spray directly onto her camera; when photographing the scene, André Coelho, a colleague at the same newspaper, was beaten up by officers with the Military Police.

In Rio de Janeiro, Globo News reporter Julio Molica was attack twice: first with pepper spray by police officers, then by protesters, who kicked him and tried to remove him from the area.

Protesters also turned against members of the press in Manaus: one reporter, Izinha Toscano, with Portal Amazônia, was beaten from behind; Camila Henriques, with G1 Amazonas, was pushed. Both were trying to document the detention of some of the protesters.

Law enforcement agencies: a tradition of violence

The numbers show the recurrence of law enforcement agents' aggressions against journalists. Last Saturday, the Military Police matched its June 13 record, when some agents attacked 18 journalists working with different media outlets.

Since June 13 Abraji has registered 82 violations against journalists that were covering protests. The complete document with the names of all the journalists who have been attacked, the media outlets they work for, and the date and place of the aggression are all available for downloading through this link.

Abraji condemned the actions committed by the police and protesters against journalists.

"Aggressions are always unjustified. When those who are victims of an aggression are reporters, every citizen ends up being a victim of lack of information," the organization said.



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