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Journalists attacked amid widespread protests

(Fundamedios/IFEX) - On Thursday 30 September, in the midst of a climate of social convulsion resulting from protests by Ecuadorian police officers against the alleged withdrawal of several work benefits, and the government's announcement that the protests are part of a coup attempt, several journalists and media workers have been attacked. Fundamedios has so far been able to confirm the following incidents:

1. Ecuavisa TV network journalist Hernán Higuera was physically attacked by one of President Rafael Correa's security guards. Higuera told Fundamedios that a policeman tried to push him off a car's roof, where he was perched while recording the protests. When Higuera got off the car, he was met by a presidential guard who punched and kicked him.

2. Juan Carlos Correa, a journalist for Canal Uno TV station who was also attacked, reported that he was prevented from covering events at the police barracks where the uprising began.

3. Carolina Mela, a reporter for TV Ecuador, said that police officers attempted to take her cameras and forced her to stop reporting on the events.

4. Juan Carlos Pérez, a photographer for the newspaper "El Comercio de Santo Domingo of Los Tsáchilas", a town located 133 km from Quito, was attacked by policemen who also detained him for 20 minutes until he identified himself as a journalist.

5. Ana María Cañizales, a Teleamazonas reporter, was physically attacked by policemen at the National Assembly's headquarters.

6. Miguel Castillo, regional coordinator of the newspaper "Diario El Comercio of Ambato", and his photographer, were hit by policemen who also sprayed pepper spray at them and took their camera.

7. Ecuador TV and Radio Pública, the state-owned TV and radio stations, announced that the protesting policemen had attempted to stop these media outlets from broadcasting.

8. Eduardo Córdova and Roberto Molina, an Ecuador TV journalist and photographer respectively, were attacked by policemen at the National Assembly's facilities. They were both beaten until forced out of the building. The policemen also threw tear gas at them.

9. Edith Jácome, a correspondent for Teleamazonas in Ambato, and her photographer were attacked when they were covering Tungurahua's Joint Command. According to Jácome, a group of policemen threw a bottle of water at them. It hit the journalist on the right ear and injured her.

10. A "Revista Vistazo" photographer was attacked by policemen at the National Assembly. The police officers also set fire to his camera. The photographer has not been identified.

11. Ramón Bravo, a Radio Pública journalist, was suffocated while he was covering a police protest. He received emergency medical assistance.

12. Telesur network reported the detention of a press team in Quito by "pro-coup policemen". Fundamedios contacted Telesur Venezuela, who corroborated the detention but refused to give the identities of the journalists detained.

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