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Journalists assaulted by police in Ambo, their video camera damaged

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 27 April 2007, eight police officers assaulted journalist Irwin Berríos, of Radio Súper FM radio station, and freelance cameraman Abraham Rolando Estela after being videotaped drinking alcohol in a bar in the city of Ambo, Huánuco region, in central Peru. The squad, composed of officers from the San Martín and Junín regional police forces, had arrived in the city to keep order at a march of coca leaf producers protesting the eradication of their crops.

The reporters were covering the demonstration when two witnesses told them that the police were drinking in a bar. The journalists taped the police at the bar. Upon realising that they had been caught drinking while on duty, the police beat the reporters and broke the video camera. Nevertheless, Berríos and Estela retrieved the tape and broadcast the footage on television.

Berríos says that since the video was broadcast he has seen a car with reflective windshield and windows prowling in front of his home and near the radio station headquarters. He believes this may indicate some sort of surveillance, although he has decided not to ask the authorities for protection measures.

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