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Journalists assaulted by university students in Sucre

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 22 August 2008, a group of university students assaulted at least fifteen press, radio and television journalists with stones and firecrackers. The journalists were covering an attack by the students on the house of Wálter Arízaga, a leader of the teaching staff at San Francisco Xavier University. The event took place in the city of Sucre, southern Bolivia.

The students were attempting to break into Arízaga's house following a protest march against a recent increase in the salaries of university professors. The salary increase has resulted in an ongoing internal conflict at the university.

The students threw stones and aimed firecrackers at the journalists in an attempt to prevent them from covering the attack on Arízaga's home. They also insulted, harassed and threatened to kill the journalists, accusing them of being biased in favour of the professors.

After the incident, the Press Workers' Federation (Federación de Trabajadores de la Prensa) called on the government and university authorities to provide protection for journalists to ensure that they can carry out their work. The student leaders refrained from making any comments about the attack on the journalists but denied instructing the students to occupy Arízaga's home.

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