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Mayor's bodyguards assault journalist Jorge Amorín and cameraman Pedro Quezada

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 13 February 2009, Ávila TV reporter Jorge Amorín and Venezolana de Televisión camera operator Pedro Quezada were harassed and assaulted by bodyguards working for Manuel Rosales, the mayor of Maracaibo and leader of the opposition Un Nuevo Tiempo party. The incident took place when Amorín and Quezada attempted to interview Rosales in Caracas. Venezolana de Televisión and Ávila TV are both state-owned media outlets.

The journalists happened upon Rosales in the streets of Caracas and attempted to interview him about a problem in Maracaibo involving a group of municipal workers. While they were interviewing him, one of Rosales's bodyguards struck Quezada's camera, after which the mayor left, along with the bodyguards. The reporters followed them to a restaurant in order to express their disapproval of the bodyguard's actions. However, when they attempted to talk to the mayor in a private room within the restaurant, the bodyguards began to insult them, then struck them, at which point the restaurant's owner asked them to leave. Some of the customers joined in insulting the journalists and began throwing glasses at them.

The journalists broadcast images of the actions against them on Venezolana de Televisión and filed a complaint at the Prosecutor's Office.

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