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Journalist arrested, others shot at while covering protests

(MADA/IFEX) - The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) strongly denounces the arrest of AFP correspondent and cameraman Hazem Bader on 10 April 2010 by the Israeli occupation forces in Biet Safa village, in Hebron.

MADA also condemns the incidence of the Israeli occupation army firing at journalists and demonstrators during a peaceful march in the Atatra area in Biet Lahya, Gaza Strip, on 6 April.

Bader said that he had gone to cover a peaceful march to protest land confiscation in Beit Safa, when the Israeli army declared Biet Safa a closed military zone and ordered all the demonstrators to evacuate the area. When they refused, the soldiers arrested about fifteen protesters, including international supporters, as well as Bader, because he continued filming. Bader added: "I was handcuffed and detained for three hours, then I was released after the intervention of the AFP office, but the other detainees were transferred to an interrogation center in the Etzion settlement."

In a separate incident, on 6 April, BBC correspondent Shahdi Alkashif said that he went to cover a weekly march organized by the Popular Committee against the Israeli occupation authorities over banned agricultural land in Beit Lahiya; when the demonstrators reached the restricted area, the Israeli army came and began firing bullets on journalists and demonstrators.

Alkashif added: "It was a very dangerous situation where the journalists were stuck between soldiers and demonstrators (. . .) We were only 50 metres away from the Israeli army, and the bullets were very close to us, but fortunately no one was hurt."

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