The Association of International Press Correspondents in Chile (ACPI) lamented, criticized and condemned the escalation of violence and intimidation unleashed by groups of hooded men against the journalists who cover the demonstrations in Santiago de Chile.
This after several of them tried attack on Thursday, with knives, several professionals, including photographers from the Efe and AFP agencies.
In a statement released after the student march called on Thursday in Plaza Italia, the heart of the protests in 2018, the ACPI classified the aggressors as “a small clearly organized group, alien to the march”, which also acted in the protests of the past September 8 and 11.
In those two marches The aforementioned group tried to rob several pharmacies and other businesses, as one of the Efe photographers reported, who tried to rip off his camera and threatened him so that he could not record the moment.
“The ACPI expresses its condemnation of the attacks and threats with knives that several colleagues suffered this Thursday journalists who tried to cover the student march that was convened in Plaza Italia, where a small group of very violent hooded men intimidated photographers and cameramen to prevent them from recording the demonstration in the center of Santiago”, they assured in the note.
“Although this type of violent group has acted against the press on previous occasions, most recently in the demonstrations on September 8 and 11, this is the first time that they have approached journalists, rebuked them for giving the names of the media where they work and chase them with knives to force them to leave the place, even with the intention of taking away their work equipment,” they added.
Hooded and Carabineros
ACPI also warned that “Today’s episode marks a further deterioration in this type of coverage in Chileprovoked by small and perfectly identifiable groups that, however, are managing to intimidate with impunity so that the press cannot carry out its work.”
Thus, he urged the police forces, in particular the Carabineros, to be more proactive in the fight against these violent groups., who have nothing to do with the protests and are dedicated to committing crimes and breaking up the demonstrations; and to discriminate better between the violent and those who protest peacefully.
To the above, they added the power to safeguard the integrity of journalists and their right to free and secure information, as guaranteed by the international charter of human rights.
“We call on the authorities in general to take pertinent actions in order to prevent events of this gravity from occurring against the free exercise of journalism during the coverage of legitimate social demonstrations,” they affirmed.
“The State of Chile has signed international conventions that oblige it to protect journalistic action, therefore we consider it imperative in this situation to guarantee the right to inform,” he concluded.
Although the threatened photographers and journalists were able to leave the area without suffering any kind of injury, it has been reported that several people who were filming had their phones stolen, some of which were destroyed in the streets..
The hooded men confronted the police forces with stones, sticks, bottles and Molotov cocktails at the end of the student protest on September 8 and at the entrance to the General Cemetery after the demonstration on September 11, in memory of the coup d’état that in 1973 overthrew the government of Salvador Allende.