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Social movement leader punches journalist for criticising coca-leaf growers' strike during interview in Tocache

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 24 September 2007, Radio Concierto journalist Abel Gonzáles Vargas was punched by Edwin Usuriaga Paz, the president of Tocache's Defense Front (Frente de Defensa de Tocache), an alliance of various social movements in the Tocache area who are supporting the demands of coca-leaf farmers, while the journalist conducted a live interview with him about the coca producers' strike initiated that day in Tocache, in San Martín region in northeastern Peru.

During the conversation, the journalist expressed his opinion that the strike was a failure. The union leader accused him of defending the interests of the powerful and punched him. The radio programme is also broadcast on cable television, so viewers witnessed the incident live.

Gonzáles told IPYS that he will file a complaint against Usuriaga at the local police station and request protection from the local government.

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