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Journalists assaulted by members of Presidential Guard

(CEPET/IFEX) - Five journalists were assaulted on 17 February 2010 by federal officers while they covering a demonstration by a group of young people. The youths were protesting the visit of President Felipe Calderón to Ciudad Juárez, in Chihuahua, northern Mexico, and calling on the army to withdraw from the border town.

The incident occurred in the early afternoon, near the Hotel Camino Real, where the president was attending an event titled "Todos somos Juárez. Reconstruyamos la ciudad" (We are all Juárez, let's rebuild the city). A number of working groups presented proposals during the conference, aimed at addressing the insecurity in Ciudad Juárez, the most violent city in the country.

According to local media reports, Daniel Domínguez, a reporter for 860 Noticias; Miguel Lozano, of Radionet 1490, and Carlos Moreno, of the website, were trying to get to Tecnológico Avenue to cover the demonstration. However, they were prevented from doing so by members of the Presidential Guard (Estado Mayor Presidencial), who hit them and seized Domínguez's mobile phone.

A few minutes later, David Fuentes, a reporter for Canal 5 and a correspondent for Notimex and W Radio, was assaulted by officers who tried to force him to leave an area that had been designated for the press. Three members of the Presidential Guard asked him to move on. When he explained that he was waiting for the camera operator, they started to push and shove him. Domínguez, and his colleague Omar Amaya, also of 860 Noticias, tried to come to Fuentes's aid but received the same treatment from the officers.

"They started acting aggressively, they hit me and threw me to the ground. When Oscar Amaya and Daniel Domínguez tried to help me, there was a real commotion," Fuentes said in a statement to the newspaper "El Diario de Ciudad Juárez".

"They took our mobile phones, our cameras and other equipment and kept us in an enclosed area," Amaya added.

A representative of the Chihuahua State Human Rights Commission, Carlos Gutiérrez Casas, was forced to intervene after finding out about the incident. A complaint has been filed with the National Human Rights Commission (Comisión Nacional de los Derechos Humanos, CNDH) which has launched an investigation and issued a statement about the incident.

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