Cameraman shot and reporter beaten while covering protests

APRIL 9, 2008Posted May 9, 2008

Eduardo García, Telecentro 13
María Teresa López, Prensa Libre and Emisoras Unidas

Protesters shot at García, a cameraman for the national television station Telecentro 13, while he was covering a demonstration of local residents in San Juan Alotenango, a small city 18 miles (30 kilometers) west of Guatemala City. Colleagues told CPJ the journalist was in stable condition.

García traveled to San Juan de Alotenango to cover clashes between local residents and police following the arrest of an individual accused of stealing children, according to press reports and CPJ interviews. Police had captured the man and residents wanted to lynch him, the Guatemala press said. The protest turned violent after local gangs joined the crowds, Telecentro 13 reported.

Francisco Mendía, with Telecentro 13, told CPJ that García had arrived when protests were already under way. García was caught in crossfire and shot in the back with 9 mm bullet.

María Teresa Lopez, correspondent for the daily Prensa Libre and radio station Emisoras Unidas, told CPJ that she was beaten by demonstrators during the protest. She was also forced to give up her camera and her mobile phone.