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Three community TV station journalists beaten by student group opposing national government's decisions

(AMARC/IFEX) - AMARC is concerned about the physical and verbal attacks suffered by a group of reporters from the community television station TV Rubio, at the hands of a group of demonstrators who had occupied the entrance to a university, the Universidad Pedagógica Experimental Libertador (UPEL), located in Rubio, Táchira state.

Cameraman José Alberto Bastos, his assistant Yoanna Delgado, and community reporter José Angel Manrique were detained by a group of approximately 20 people who beat them and forced them to turn over their cameras so that footage could be removed from them.

The incident occurred at around 11:30 a.m. (local time) on 28 May 2007, when the TV Rubio crew was covering a demonstration held at the university. According to sources consulted by AMARC, the assailants were members of the National Union of Students 13 (Unión Nacional de Estudiantes, UNE 13), which is linked to the opposition political parties and led by Wilson Garzón and Reybor Córdoba. All of the assailants were masked.

The three journalists were freed after being forced to turn over their cameras and videotapes containing images of the demonstration that had been organised by UNE 13 to protest the non-renewal of RCTV's license and also decisions by President Chávez to eliminate university admission tests and to create 29 new universities.

AMARC stands in solidarity with TV Rubio and its assaulted colleagues, and strongly urges the relevant authorities to investigate the incident and take the measures needed to prevent similar incidents, which undermine the right of the television station's staff to carry out their work.

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