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Police evict journalists from public building, push and threaten them

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 2 October 2008, Consuelo Aruquipa and Abraham Silva, journalists for the ATB television network who were trying to cover an occupation of the Bolivian postal service's (Empresa de Correos de Bolivia, ECOBOL) offices by peasant farmers in the city of La Paz, were assaulted by police officers in charge of the building's security.

According to the journalists and the footage they managed to film, Lieutenant Julio César Bejarano García, the officer in charge of the building's security, pushed Silva and tried to stop him from filming the confrontation that was taking place at the post office by attempting to cover the lens of his camera. When the reporter resisted, the officer attempted to snatch his video camera from him.

Aruquipa said that a scuffle ensued between Silva and the police officers. The police officers then pushed the reporters and evicted them from the building.

Lieutenant Bejarano told the National Press Association (Asociación National de la Prensa, ANP) that the journalists slipped past the building's security personnel and violated access restrictions to the post office that had been imposed as security measures.

However, Aruquipa insisted that Bejarano and another police officer intercepted them once they were inside the building and forced them to leave. Aruquipa said that they entered the building by the front door, that that they were there at the request of the workers, that they did not slip past security and that they presented their press credentials before entering.

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