Journalist attacked after covering protest in South Africa

Luvuyo Mehlwana, a reporter for the Daily Sun, one of the highest-circulated daily newspapers in South Africa, told CPJ he was kicked and beaten after covering a protest in the Northern Areas of the coastal city of Port Elizabeth on July 27, 2015.

Students and their parents were demonstrating against the Eastern Cape Education Department and the shortage of teachers in local schools, according to news reports. The protest turned violent and police used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, the reports said. Then, the protesters began to throw rocks at some journalists and police officers, Mehlwana told CPJ.

Mehlwana said that after he was finished covering the protest, he was walking back to his car when he was attacked by a group of men, who he said were not protesters. His assailants, who he thought were members of a local gang, were also attacking police cars, he said. Mehlwana said he was hit on the head from behind with a brick, and was kicked repeatedly by the men while he was on the ground.

Mehlwana told CPJ that he told the men repeatedly that he was a journalist, but that they continued to kick him, before searching him and seizing his laptop, camera, cell phone, and wallet.

His camera was recovered about an hour after the attack, the journalist told CPJ, but all of the pictures had been deleted.

Mehlwana told CPJ he filed a complaint, citing assault and theft, at a local police station.