A security officer in civilian clothes and a uniformed soldier on June 16, 2017, struck French freelance journalist Philippine de Clermont Tonnere as she covered a protest in Beirut against a third extension of the Lebanese parliament’s term, the journalist told the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Police forcibly dispersed the demonstration after some protesters threw eggs and tomatoes at cars they believed to be carrying members of parliament, according to a police statement and video posted to social media. At least five protesters were injured, according to videos published on social media, news reports, and Human Rights Watch.
Clermont Tonnere told CPJ that she was filming the protest as a freelancer.
“I was there as a journalist,” Clermont Tonnere told CPJ. “I decided to follow the activists, including my husband Bashir al-Khouri, to cover the demonstration and because I expected clashes with the police. A guy wearing a black T-shirt and jeans suddenly charged at me and slapped me violently on the face. Later on, a soldier asked me to stop filming with my phone. When I refused, he started to club me on the left arm so I would drop it. My husband reacted immediately and shouted that I was journalist and he couldn´t prevent me from filming, so he let me go.”