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France16 May 2004

Three journalists attacked by riot police

Reporters Without Borders today deplored attacks by riot police on three journalists covering a demonstration in the southern city of Cannes on 15 May in connection with the international film festival there.

The press freedom organisation noted that provincial prefect (governor) Pierre Breuil had ordered sanctions against the two officers involved in the "unacceptable" incidents and said it hoped he would fulfil his duty to pursue the matter fully.

The journalists were set upon as they were reporting on a protest by several dozen show-business workers outside a police station in support of colleagues arrested earlier in the day during the occupation of a cinema.

One of them, Gwenaël Rihet, a cameraman for the French TV station France 3, was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and taken to a police station. He was held for several hours and then taken to hospital with head injuries that needed six stitches and forced him to take four days medical leave. France 3 said on 16 May it had complained to police about the attack.

A journalist for the French news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) was roughly shoved by the riot police when he tried to help Rihet and a Norwegian journalist said he had been manhandled by them.




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