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Several more journalists attacked, equipment destroyed by police following demonstration coverage

(MFWA/IFEX) - On 30 March 2008, a group of journalists covering a demonstration sparked off by the sharp increase in prices of goods and services across Senegal were physically attacked by the Mobile Intervention Group (GMI) of the Senegalese police force.

Ousmane Mangane, a journalist working for "Walf Fadjri", a privately-owned daily newspaper based in Dakar, was assaulted by the security operatives, while two police personnel reportedly stormed the studios of the Walf TV station, an independent television station, and took away footage showing how the police broke up the demonstration.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that Mangane was whipped with an electric baton as he approached a parliamentarian being manhandled by the police during the protest march.

Several other journalists were physically attacked as the police descended on the demonstrators. The press card of Macoumba Mbodj, a reporter of a private radio station, RFM, was destroyed. Serigne Diagne of the Senactu news website ( http://www.senactu.com ) was forced to delete photos he had taken of the crackdown and the camera of a reporter with Canal Info was shattered.

The march, organised by the Association of Senegalese Consumers (ASCOSEN), and supported by opposition politicians, was to protest the high cost of living in the country.

Police using batons and tear gas violently cracked down on the demonstrators on the grounds that the protest had been banned due to its threat to public order. It was in the course of dispersing the crowd that the journalists, who were covering the protest, were attacked.

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