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Brazilian cameraman dies after being injured by explosives in Rio de Janeiro

Police investigate in Sao Cristovao, north of Rio de Janeiro, where cameraman Santiago Andrade was hit in the head by fireworks on 6 February 2014
Police investigate in Sao Cristovao, north of Rio de Janeiro, where cameraman Santiago Andrade was hit in the head by fireworks on 6 February 2014

MARCOS ARCOVERDE/ESTADAO CONTEUDO (Agencia Estado via AP Images)

On Monday February 10, 2014 authorities confirmed the death of cameraman Santiago Ilídio Andrade. On February 6, while covering a demonstration against transportation fee increases in Rio de Janeiro, he was hit in the head by an explosive. Investigations are pointing towards protesters as those responsible for buying and firing the explosive.

This is the first lethal case involving attacks against journalists during the protests, but the number of attacks are multiplying. Since June 2013, Abraji (Brazilian Association on Investigative Journalism) has seen a rise in violence and violations against press workers. Since the beginning of demonstrations in 2013 up until Santiago Andrade's death, 117 cases were recorded by the organization – perpetrated both by protesters and police forces.

Andrade was 49 years old and leaves a wife, a daughter and three stepchildren.

Colleagues knew the cameraman as one of the most careful professionals from Band TV, where he worked. Last year he attended training sponsored by military experts in Rio de Janeiro on security during demonstrations. He was an experienced reporter in this type of situation.

Andrade had received first aid from colleagues and was taken to the hospital by the police. He lost part of his ear and suffered a depressed skull fracture. He was in a coma for a few days before his death.

The attack on Andrade was the fourth on journalists during demonstrations in Brazil in 2014. On January 25, two reporters were wounded in Sao Paulo: Sebastiao Moreira, from EFE, was attacked by policemen; Paulo Alexandre, freelancer, was assaulted by the metropolitan police. Also on the night of February 6, Gustavo Maia from UOL was hit by policemen.

Abraji condemns this kind of attack against journalists. It's disturbing that 2014 has begun with violent occurrences against journalists. Abraji urges the authorities to investigate the people responsible for this attack and hold them accountable. The Brazilian state must protect freedom of expression, the right to access information and the safety of journalists.

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