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Demonstrators beat reporters, steal videocamera

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 29 April 2009, RTC Canal 13 television station journalist Rosa Huapaya and camera operator Julio Bazán were beaten with sticks by a group of protesters when they were covering a demonstration in the city of Huamachuco, in the region of La Libertad, northwestern Perú. The demonstrators, who included subsistence farmers and members of both the Education Workers' Union (Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores de la Educación, SUTEP) and a public interest group (Frente de Defensa de los Intereses de los Pueblos, FEDIPE), were protesting against issues relating to the government administration in the area.

Huapaya told IPYS that the aggressive actions against herself and Bazán took place because the demonstrators are angry over the television station's condemnation of the use of violence during the protest.

Six of the demonstrators stole Bazán's camera. The camera operator subsequently filed a complaint with the police.

The reporters also spoke to union leaders Francisco García and Abimael Segura about the actions against them, but García and Segura justified the demonstrator's behaviour by saying that the television station misinforms the public and "does not support the interests of the people."

IPYS condemns the actions against Bázan and Huapaya and calls on the union leaders to ensure that the press can carry out their work and to refrain from inciting their members to take action against media workers.

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