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Journalists and camera operators assaulted at Carabobo state legislative council headquarters

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 9 December 2008, a group of journalists was assaulted as they left the headquarters of the Carabobo State Regional Legislative Council, in Valencia (central Venezuela). The attackers are believed to have been supporters of Venezuela's United Socialist Party (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV), who accused the journalists of misinforming the public. The journalists had intended to cover the suspension of a meeting due to arguments between members of congress who want to be appointed to higher positions following elections that were held on 23 November.

The National Guard did not stop the assault on the journalists. Among the journalists assaulted were María Teresa Guedes, of the "El Aragueño" newspaper, and photographer Héctor Bencomo, of the "Notitarde" newspaper. Guedes was hit in the head and pushed to the floor, and her recording equipment was taken from her. Bencomo suffered a broken nose. Both were taken to a medical center for treatment.

Several teams of journalists were also assaulted, including reporter Randolfo Blanco, camera operator Félix Repetto and assistant Rafael Rumbos of Venevisión, journalist Douglas Arraíz and camera operator Jorge Rubí of NC TV, and journalist Cristian Ojeda and camera operator Alexander Flores of Televen. Journalists Dayana Querales, of the "La Calle" newspaper, and Yahimar Pinto, of Asamblea Nacional Televisión, and journalist Ambar Gonzáles and camera operator Jorge Henríquez, of TVS, were also among those assaulted.

The case was reported to the National Attorney General's Office (Fiscalía General de la República). The person responsible for Guedes' and Bencomo's injuries has already been identified.

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