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Four journalists are victims of police violence during opposition protest

(JED/IFEX) - 2 September 2011 – Journaliste en danger (JED) is deeply concerned with news of attacks, on 1 September 2011, against John Bompengo, a journalist for Radio Okapi (a UN-operated station), Daudet Nzumbu, Papy Mulala and Bienvenu Kabamba, who are cameramen for Canal Congo Télévision (CCTV), Canal Kin Télévision (CKTV) and Canal Numérique Télévision (CNTV), respectively. The journalists were attacked during a protest rally by the opposition party Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS), calling on the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) to act with transparency with regards to the upcoming elections.

According to information obtained by JED, the journalists were harassed and beaten by officers from the national police and by individuals in civilian clothing who were attempting to stage a counter-protest. Some of their material, notably a camera and videotapes, was seized.

In an interview with JED, Nzumbu declared that he left the clashes in question with a swollen face. "My camera was taken away despite my resistance," he added.

Kabamba, for his part, declared that he was attacked by the young activists, who succeeded in stealing his camera before the march was dispersed by the police forces. "They clearly stated to me that they were members of the ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Development (PPRD) and that they were looking for journalists that work for the opposition press. I know one of my attackers, who is one of the prominent members of the youth league," stated Kabamba.

While vehemently condemning these acts of violence, JED calls upon the police force to immediately instruct its members to differentiate between protesters and media professionals, and to respect the work that journalists perform during protests.

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