Reporter detained while covering protest

APRIL 24, 2007
Posted April 30, 2007

Gina Reyes Demeis, El Carabobeño


Reyes, Aragua correspondent for the Valencia-based daily El Carabobeño, was detained by members the Venezuelan National Guard while she was covering a protest in the central Aragua province, according to Venezuelan press reports.

According to El Carabobeño, Reyes was interviewing workers protesting against a local sanitation company. When the National Guard sprayed protesters with tear gas, Reyes ran. Members of the National Guard then detained Reyes, who tried to explain that she was a journalist though she was not carrying press credentials, according to Venezuelan press reports. Reyes told reporters that she was manhandled as members of the National Guard were trying to shove her into a patrol car.

The reporter was held for more than six hours at a local police station, El Carabobeño reported. Authorities confiscated her cellular phone and tape recorder, Reyes told the Venezuelan press. Because she was complaining of severe pain in her head and shoulders, Reyes was taken to a local hospital, where she was diagnosed with cerebral whiplash caused by the shoving during her arrest, reported El Carabobeño.

According to the local press freedom group Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS), a local member of the National Guard publicly apologized to Reyes after she was released.