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Eleven journalists briefly detained and beaten by police for covering opposition demonstration in Kinshasa

(JED/IFEX) - Eleven journalists working for various media outlets in Kinshasa were briefly detained and beaten, on 30 October 2007, in Kinshasa/Kasa-Vubu, by the police while covering an "unauthorised" demonstration of the opposition.

According to information obtained by Journaliste en danger (JED), this demonstration organised by two members of the Union for the Nation (UN, Union pour la Nation, a political led by Jean-Pierre Bemba), namely Gaston Dindo and Moïse Moni Dela who claim to be members of the "extra-parliamentary opposition", was intended to deposit a memorandum for the National Assembly at the People's Palace in Kinshasa/Lingwala.

Officers from the National police force irrupted from two trucks and dispersed without consideration for the people gathered in the square a few blocks from the People's Palace. The organisers of the walk as well as the journalists who covered the demonstration were brutally arrested, beaten and thrown in trucks, then were taken to the Kalamu police station in the Matonge district. One of the journalists said to JED that they were all released after approximately an hour but some of their personal items were confiscated.

JED is concerned about the increase of acts of violence against journalists in the line of duty by the authorities. JED recalls that journalists have the right to cover any public demonstration which is of interest to the media, whether authorised or not.

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