Police, protesters in Mexico injure over 15 journalists during 45th anniversary of student massacre

At least 15 journalists were the targets of aggressions from protesters and police officers yesterday in Mexico City while they covered the 45-anniversary of the student massacre in Tlatelolco.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF in French) condemned the violence and called the federal government's special prosecutor for crimes against the press (FEADLE in Spanish) to conduct a thorough investigation into each case and punish those responsible.

Journalist Guillermo Barros with Agence France-Presse said he was covering the protests at Reforma Avenue when "police officers began beating people so they would clear out, and when I identified myself as a member of the press, a police officer approached me from behind and hit me on the head.” Four of Barros' colleagues were also attacked by police officers.

Photographer Omar Franco with newspaper El Sol de México was also struck on the head. Police officers seized Efekto Noticias Nayeli Roldán's equipment. Other journalists were attacked by law enforcement officers, and some independent journalists like Daniela Paniagua and Alejandro Medina were arrested and released shortly after.

According to CNNMéxico, Mexico City police chief Héctor Serrano said “there aren't any reports of aggressions against citizens” and that 99 percent of the Oct. 2 protests were peaceful, with the exception of "an average of 200 people" who attended with their faces covered and became violent at one point during the manifestation.

The Mexican Red Cross reported on Twitter having helped 51 injured persons during the protests, 47 of them with light injuries.

Freedom of expression and human rights organization Article 19 documented in real time the incidents that occurred during the protests, publishing on their website a list of the journalists who were victims of aggressions. Police officers were behind 90 percent of the aggressions, the organization said.

Article 19 called on Mexican authorities to adopt protocols that allow for a "healthy relationship between law enforcement agencies and media outlets."

Mexico is among the most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. In the last 10 years, 88 journalists have been killed and 17 are missing.

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.

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