Journalists assaulted in Lebanon amid violent protests

August 26, 2015 10:06 AM ET

At least eight journalists were physically assaulted while covering anti-government protests in Beirut on August 22 and August 23, 2015, according to news reports, the local press freedom group Center for Media and Cultural Freedom, or SKeyes, and CPJ research. One journalist sought treatment at a local hospital for injuries.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the capital demonstrating against the government's failure to clear trash from the streets, according to news reports. The "You Stink" protests turned violent, and the army was deployed to clear the protests, news reports said. Hundreds were injured in the ensuing clashes between protesters and police, according to news reports citing the Red Cross.

During the clashes, police and protesters alike assaulted journalists and broke or seized their equipment.

On August 22, Sami Batamona, a photographer for the privately owned TV station Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International, was injured in the foot and his camera was broken, according to SKeyes. Batamona required stitches for his injury, the report said. The same day, security forces assaulted Nada Andraos Aziz, a correspondent for the same station, while she was broadcasting live. The camera of another journalist, Tony Kairelos, a photographer for the station, was broken on August 23, 2015. Another LBCI reporter, Dalal Mouawad, was injured in the same clashes, the channel said.

SKeyes reported that on August 22 Nawal Berri, a correspondent for Al-Jadeed TV, was slightly injured in her hands and back when security forces threw chairs at her. Jihad Zuhri, a cameraman for the station, and Mustafa Khansa, a technician, were beaten and pushed by security forces on August 23, Berri told CPJ. "I'm clearly just a cameraman. Why are you beating me?" Khansa told security forces, according to Berri.

The Associated Press photographer Hussein Malla sought treatment at a hospital for back injuries after he was beaten by police on August 22. Malla was wearing gear clearly marked Press.

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