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Journalist receives death threats after broadcast showing police firing on demonstrators in Chimbote

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 11 April 2007, journalist Sandor Renilla Horna, producer of Canal 31 television station's programme "Punto 31", received two death threats, moments after having broadcast video footage in which police are seen firing on a crowd of demonstrators from the Front for the Defence of Santa Province (Frente de Defensa de la Provincia del Santa) and the Front for the Interests of the People of Huaraz (Frente por los Intereses del Pueblo de Huaraz), which had taken place that day in Chimbote, Ancash region, in northwestern Peru.

The video was shot by Renilla Horna himself, and contradicted the government's account of the incident, which claimed that the police had received an order to not use arms to put down the protest. That account had been given by General Carlos León Romero, the chief of the Third Territorial Directorate of the National Police (Tercera Dirección Territorial de la Policía Nacional), hours prior to the broadcast of the video, after he had been informed that a peasant had been shot to death during the demonstration.

Renilla Horna says that another threatening call was made to his home telephone; the caller warned him that the journalist would be made to "disappear". The journalist thinks that it is possible that the threats are coming from the police themselves.

Renilla Horna, with assistance from the Chimbote public ombudsman's office (Defensoría del Pueblo), has asked the local government to ensure his safety.

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