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Police beat four journalists covering protests

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders condemns police violence against a total of four journalists covering demonstrations. "Journalists must be able to work with complete safety, without having to fear police batons," the press freedom organisation said.

Police beat Mounir El-Ktaoui of the Arabic-language weekly "Al Watan Al An", BBC stringer Mustapha Bekkali and Mohamed Hamraoui of the French-language weekly "La Gazette du Maroc" in the course of dispersing demonstrators protesting against food price increases outside the parliament building in Rabat on 12 April 2008.

Ktaoui told Reporters Without Borders: "I was violently pushed back by five policemen who tried to grab my camera. I told them in vain that I was a journalist. They did not want to listen and kept hitting me."

Freelance journalist Abdelilah Abbad was manhandled by local police chief Mohamed Ouhachi when he took photos of an unauthorised demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people on 9 March in Tangier (260 km north of Rabat). Policemen seized his camera and deleted his photos. "They held me down and twisted my arms and neck in order to take my camera," he told Reporters Without Borders, adding that he had filed a complaint accusing the police chief of assault.

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