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Assaults against Greek journalists by the supporters of Mubarak

05 February 2011 / 16:02:53  GRReporter
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The authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak fights tooth and nail for its survival. After the killings and beatings in the ranks of the demonstrators who do not leave the "battlefield" started attacks against foreign journalists who cover the events.

A group of demonstrators attacked the envoy in Cairo of the newspaper Kathimerini. The Greek journalist Petros Papaconstantinou was wounded in the leg with a knife and hit with a truncheon on the head by the supporters of the regime of Hosni Mubarak, then he was taken to hospital to be given medical attention. Slightly wounded was also the photographer Georgeous Mutafis.

Petros Papaconstantinou’s story about the events on the streets of the Egyptian capital is dramatic. "I was at the Tahrir Square to report. On my way to the hotel I was noticed by some of the supporters of Mubarak. They started lynching me, they were hitting me on the head with a truncheon and wounded me slightly in the leg with a knife. Several soldiers intervened, but regardless of them the supporters of Mubarak took everything I had with me which was in front of their eyes. The soldiers then brought me to a safe place, but they treated me like a prisoner. They kept me there for about 45 minutes and after my persistent protests they brought me to the hospital. There they took my passport, and then came the police. Together with my colleague Panos Haritos we made a note of protest. Ambassador Christodoulos Lazaris arrived and then took my passport back from the hospital. Petros Papaconstantinou was discharged from the hospital and is in good health.

"I shot the morning clashes in front of the Egyptian National Museum, when suddenly the supporters of Mubarak started pulling me and hitting me with cassettes, wooden sticks and fists" said before the newspaper Vima the photographer Georgeous Mutafis. "Mubarak is not a problem. You are", told me one of them and cut with the knife, he held in his hand the cord of my camera.

Together with the two wounded was also the Reuters photographer Yannis Behrakis. Although he was chased by Mubarak’s supporters he was not injured.

The Journalists protection committee reported that the supporters of the Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak have started attacks against journalists in the streets of Cairo. The committee identified the attacks as a disguised attempt to impose censorship.

The rights protection group based in New York issued a message - an appeal to the Egyptian military forces to protect the journalists who are in the country to cover the events. The communication also describes a number of cases of attacks against media representatives in Egypt.

According to the person in charge of the organization in the Middle East and North Africa Mohammed Abdel Dayem the Egyptian government has undertaken a strategy to neutralize the witness of his actions.

"The government is trying to impose a disguised censorship through intimidation. Thus organized supporters of the President Mubarak carried out a number of targeted attacks against journalists".

At least six journalists and photographers have been captured in Egypt while they were covering protests against the government. Two of them were released shortly afterwards.

Witnesses say that one of the arrested was a photographer of the European Agency Pressphoto. According to them the photographer was wounded in the head. So far it is not clear which agency has made the arrest but witnesses say he was taken with a military vehicle.

The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that it makes attempts for the three journalists who were arrested in Egypt to be released. The employees of a private TV and website were detained because they did not comply with the ban on movement during the evening hours, which is effective since last Friday in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez.

By the crowd were attacked also two correspondents of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet. Later they were arrested by a military officer. According to information from the newspaper a reporter and a photographer were making a reportage about how the poor Egyptians get food to survive. When they came out of the car to talk with two women digging in the garbage bins they were attacked by a crowd of people.

"They took the car keys and the SIM-card of the phone of the driver. They placed stones in front of the tires and spit in our faces" told the journalist. According to her the attackers had branded them as members of the Israeli secret service Mossad. In stead of helping them a soldier who approached threatened them. "He told us that if he killed us then no one would find us and ordered that we stay in the car", said the journalist, adding that the soldier let them go.

Tags: media journalists photographers assaults Cairo authoritarian regime Hosni Mubarak
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