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Authorities crack down on protesters; media personnel targeted

(ANHRI/IFEX) - ANHRI condemns the use of excessive force by the Egyptian military and its supporters against peaceful protestors in Tahrir Square and in front of the Cabinet, resulting in further deaths and injuries.

Clashes between protesters and army troops began on the morning of 16 December, as members of the army who were stationed on top of the Cabinet and People's Council buildings threw stones at protesters gathered in front of the Cabinet. As the demonstrations escalated, the military began using live and rubber bullets, killing eight demonstrators, six of which died from live bullets. Two of those killed were children and hundreds of demonstrators were injured.

The clashes are accompanied by a semi-organized campaign targeting journalists and media practitioners reminiscent of the violent campaign launched by police services during the first wave of the uprising. Similarly, a blackout is being enforced on the atrocious violations practiced by the military and affiliate forces of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), as was enforced by the security services prior to the ousting of former president Mubarak.

The current campaign involved several attacks against journalists and satellite channels that are reporting on the violations against protesters. Satellite channels were particularly targeted as they were broadcasting the events in Tahrir Square, where most of the violations are taking place by military police and forces. ANHRI has recorded the following violations:

• The seizure of the live broadcasting device of ON TV, as well as the confiscation of its cameras from inside its station in Tahrir Square.
• The interruption of the live broadcast from Tahrir Square on the CBC satellite channel, without any legal basis.
• The raiding of Aljazeera's office in a building overlooking Tahrir Square, and the destruction of its cameras. A representative of the channel was also detained for two hours.
• The detainment of Shaima Adel and Sara Nour Eddine, journalists at "al-Masry al-Youm" newspaper, who were covering the events at Tahrir Square and al-Qasr al-Aini street.
• An assault by the military police on Joseph Meton, an American journalist and editor at Bikyamasr website, who was covering the attack on protesters in front of the Ministerial Cabinet building.
• An assault by the military police on Omar Saeed, the Egypt correspondent of the Lebanese newspaper "al-Nahar", during the clashes, resulting in an eye injury.
• A violent assault by soldiers on Hassan Shahine, who repeatedly stated to them that he was a journalist, resulting in injuries to his face and bruises on various parts of his body.
• The detainment of Ashraf al-Wardany, journalist at "al-Masaeya" newspaper, inside the building of the Ministerial Cabinet. He was also severely beaten by members of the military, particularly after he disclosed his identity as a journalist.
• The detainment of Sami Magdy, journalist at Masrawy news website, for over five hours as he was covering events at the Ministerial Cabinet. In addition, the authorities deleted all the pictures he had taken on his camera.

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