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Journalist attacked during opposition demonstration

(JED/IFEX) - JED is indignant and scandalised by the 23 July 2007 assault on Roland Tsapi, a journalist with the privately-owned daily "Le Messager" published in Doula, Cameroon's economic capital, by riot police who had come to quell a peaceful opposition demonstration.

JED notes that in central Africa, it is increasingly common during the repression of unauthorised demonstrations or those organised by the political opposition for security forces to violate press freedom with impunity, using violence even against the journalists covering such demonstrations.

According to information obtained by JED from local correspondents, the attack on Tsapi took place in the yard of the district authority for basic education in Bonamoussadi, a neighbourhood in Doula, where the journalist was covering a peaceful march by Cameroon's opposition political parties and motorcycle taxi drivers, who were denouncing the fraud that marred the 22 July 2007 legislative and municipal elections.

The journalist was speaking with police officers on duty at the site of the demonstration when they suddenly pushed him towards riot police officers called in as reinforcements to contain the demonstrators. The officers immediately seized Tsapi, whose position as a journalist was well-known, and violently beat him with kicks and blows from truncheons and rifle butts across his entire body.

Admitted to the emergency department at the city's medical centre, Tsapi is suffering from several bruises on his head according to doctors, who have prescribed a month of rest for the journalist.

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