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Police hinder television crew's work, accuse journalist of organising demonstration

(IPYS-Venezuela/IFEX) - On 17 March 2011, journalist Gina Caldera and camera operator Johan Gómez, who work for the nation-wide Televen television station, were assaulted by police officers and a Ministry of Internal Affairs and Justice security guard when they were covering a student protest at the Maracaibo criminal law courts, in western Venezuela.

The demonstrators wrote graffiti and chained themselves up inside the court building to demand the release of Representative José Sánchez "Mazuco". As a result, the guards and police officers in charge of guarding the premises intervened.

Gómez said that the security officers attempted several times to take his video camera and destroy the cable for his microphone in order to prevent him from continuing to record the suppression of the student demonstration.

During the struggle, a guard lunged at Caldera, accusing her of organising the protest. The journalist denied the accusation.

The incident ended when the police officers managed to control the demonstration and detained one of the nine protesters.

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