Demonstrators and police attack journalists in protests as Mexico's new president takes office

Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French) and Article 19 denounced attacks on journalists and media outlets during the coverage of protests against the presidential transition in Mexico, which turned violent on Saturday, Dec. 1.

At least seven journalists from different media organizations were attacked as they covered clashes between security forces and opponents of President Enrique Peña Nieto, reported the organization Article 19.

A supposed presidential guard feinted with his a gun to get reporter Óscar Balderas for the website ADN Político to stop taking pictures with his cell phone of the excessive force used against people protesting outside the fence surrounding the Congress, where the new president was sworn into office, according to Article 19.

After the protests, dozens of demonstrators were arrested and faced sentences of up to 30 years in prison for rioting. Among the detained were independent photographers Mircea Topoleanu and Brandon Daniel Bazán, according to RSF.

Additionally, photographers from the national newspapers Excélsior, El Universal and Milenio as well as a cameraman for Efekto TV were injured. A motorcycle owned by a Reuters photographer was stolen and set on fire, RSF reported.

A group of demonstrators also graffitied the offices of the Excélsior and El Universal newspapers while others destroyed the entranceway to the television channel Efekto TV. Police guarded the building to prevent protestors from entering the interior of the station.

Article 19 noted that there were 22 attacks on journalists and media organizations in Mexico City in 2012 and that half of them occurred during protests. Demonstrators as well as authorities committed abuses against the press, the organization said.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.