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Regional paper's reporters assaulted by state security corps while covering protests in Venezuela

On April 21st, 2014, Juan Carlos Hernández, a reporter of El Carabobeño, a privately owned paper, was assaulted by a police officer of the regional state security corps of Carabobo state whose surname is Gil, when he was covering news in the El Trigal sector, to the northwest of the city of Valencia, Carabobo state.

Reporter Juan Carlos Hernández told IPYS-Venezuela that he was covering a protest in el El Trigal sector in Valencia when Carabobo police officers started to shoot rubber pellets at the protesters to disperse the crowds. At that time, Hernández was doing his job along with other independent reporters, when a police officer approached him and began to shove him and shout insults at him with the purpose of making him leave the area.

Although Hernández said that he only received verbal harassment, he assured us that in Carabobo state the regional and national security corps are assaulting and going after reporters, photojournalists and press workers while they carry out their work of reporting in Carabobo state.

IPYS-Venezuela was able to contact Andrews Abreu, a photojournalist with El Carabobeño newspaper, who told them that on Tuesday April 15, 2014 he was assaulted by GNB officers (from a state security corps) who apparently shot marbles at his bullet-proof vest when the police corps was deployed to disperse the group of protesters who were at Palma Real, in El Mañongo sector of Carabobo state.

Abreu said that he was on the job when GNB officers arrived onboard a tank. They got out of the military vehicle with long-range weapons in their hands and started to shoot at the protesters. He said that in the midst of the scuffle everybody began to run and when he saw an officer approaching him he felt an impact in his back.

The reporter remembers having stumbled on a branch that was lying on the ground and falling on the pavement where he scraped one arm and one leg. He also remembers that he was able to see that what hit him on his bullet-proof vest was not a rubber bullet but marbles.

Abreu said he received medical care from paramedics who were offering their services to the injured protesters. He also stated that during the morning of April 15, state security officers tried to prevent him from doing his job.

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