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Soldiers assault protesters calling for justice for slain journalists

Soldiers and members of the Presidential Guard confront journalists in front of the Presidential Palace on 13 December 2011
Soldiers and members of the Presidential Guard confront journalists in front of the Presidential Palace on 13 December 2011

C-Libre

A group of mostly women journalists calling for justice for slain reporters were violently suppressed by police with batons and tear gas in Honduras's capital last week, reports IFEX's member in Honduras the Comité por la Libre Expresión (C-Libre), as well as Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Two members of C-Libre, Tirzia Gáleas y Cesar Villeda, who were at the demonstration as observers, were also assaulted.

In response to the 6 December killing of Luz Marina Paz Villalobos - the first woman journalist to be killed in Honduras - more than 50 journalists from the collective Periodistas por la Vida y la Libertad de Expresión (Journalists for Life and Freedom of Expression) gathered outside the Presidential Palace in Tegucigalpa on 13 December. They were demanding justice for Marina Paz and the 23 other journalists who had been killed since 2003 - 17 of them since the 2009 coup, and six this year alone.

When they arrived at the Presidential Palace on 13 December, they found the place surrounded by fences and guarded by military and police officers, who attacked the protesters with batons and tear gas, says C-Libre.

C-Libre's Gáleas was punched in the face by a soldier who charged at her with his anti-riot shield. Villeda was assaulted when he tried to assist his colleague.

C-Libre and a number of media outlets covering the event recorded the attacks on the protesters. See some of their pictures below:

"The Honduran government's only response to the dire human rights and civil liberties situation is repression," RSF said. "This attitude shows that it is completely responsible for this situation and that the persecution that began after the coup is continuing."

According to C-Libre, Honduras is the western hemisphere's deadliest country for the media after Mexico and has the highest homicide rate on the continent.

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