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Reporters harassed and threatened by police during demonstration

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 2 December 2008, journalist Andrés Astudillo and photographer Rafael Salazar, of the "El Tiempo" newspaper, were harassed and threatened by three policemen who noticed that the reporters had photographed them hitting a group of demonstrators during a violent protest at a university in the State of Anzoátegui, northwestern Venezuela.

The policemen seized Salazar's camera and took out its memory card. They then tried to force the reporters to leave the area by firing bullets into the air. Astudillo and Salazar were unable to identify the policemen.

The reporters refused to leave the university and informed the commander of the police unit, Roberth Aranguren, of what had happened. The policemen then returned Salazar's camera but kept the memory card.

Aranguren told IPYS that the incident was the product of a misunderstanding and that the policemen were trying to protect the reporters.

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