Cameraman shot covering clash in southern Brazil

Anderson Leandro, QuemTV, October 23, 2008

Military police shot Leandro, a cameraman for the human rights television producing company QuemTV, in the face with a rubber bullet while he was covering a clash between police and protesters in the Fazendinha neighborhood of Curitiba in the Paraná state, 310 miles (500 kilometers) south of São Paulo. The journalist told CPJ he was severely bruised on the cheek.

At least 1,500 homeless people invaded land in the Fazendinha neighborhood in September in an effort to convince the local government to give them the right to settle there, the local press reported. In the morning of October 23, around 800 policemen arrived to escort the squatters out of Fazendinha, news reports said. When protesters burned tires and houses, the police fired rubber bullets. Leandro told CPJ that one of the bullets hit him on the cheek but that he was not targeted. A woman and an 8-year-old child were also wounded, said local news reports. Leandro was taken to a nearby hospital, where he received medical help, the cameraman told CPJ.

Leandro’s footage was broadcast on the national television that night. Hours later, Public Security Secretary Luiz Fernando Delazari fired the Curitiba police commander, Col. Carlos Alexandre Scheremeta, and the head of the 13th Military Police Batallion, Maj. Flavio Correia, in connection with the incident, according to local news reports.