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Mexico15 March 2005

Photographer kicked and clubbed by police during carnival

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the use of violence by police officers against photographer Víctor Hugo Moreno of the magazine Política while he was covering a carnival in Xalapa, in the eastern state of Veracruz, on 6 March 2005.

"We protest against this abuse of authority by policemen and their brutal treatment of a journalist who was just doing his job," the press freedom organization said. "And we expect implementation of the disciplinary measures promised in this case by the Veracruz state public security department."

Moreno described the incident to Reporters Without Borders as follows: "I was five metres in front of a carnival float that I was photographing. I crossed over to get a different shot when one of the crowd control stewards began to insult me. I ignored him but he pushed me and shouted obscenities. Without getting aggressive, I said he was bothering me and that he should let me work."

When Moreno turned back towards the crowd, he found himself surrounded by police officers: "I asked them why they were doing this to me, I told them I was press, but they did not want to know and threatened to detain me. Ten other policemen arrived. Fellow photographers saw what was happening and wanted to intervene. In all, there were five of us against 15 policemen." During the ensuing altercation, Moreno was kicked several time in the ribs and clubbed over an ear, and his camera was damaged.

Moreno was treated at a Red Cross post and, the next day, with the support of his colleagues, he made a complaint to the head of the Veracruz state public security department. "Gen. Rigoberto Rivera Hernández promised me he would punish those responsible and compensate me for my medical expenses and damaged equipment."

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