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Argentina9 November 2005

Security guards burst into journalists’ meeting and attack them with iron bars

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a violent attack by about 10 private security company guards who burst into a union meeting of dozens of journalists employed by the Diario Crónica newspaper in Buenos Aires on 7 November and hit them with iron bars and batons, injuring nine of them.

“The journalists seem to have served as an outlet for the aggressiveness of the security guards although they were just peacefully defending their rights,” the press freedom organisation said, calling for an investigation and the punishment of those responsible.

Two of the victims, Ricardo Fioravanti and Pablo Pereyra, were rushed to a hospital intensive care unit.

The security guards also threatened the journalists, shouting, “Do you remember the disappeared?” and “You will all end up dead,” alluding to the thousands who disappeared during the 1976-83 military dictatorship.

The Union of Buenos Aires Press Workers (UTPBA), which had representatives at the meeting, accused the security guards of behaving like the death squads that operated during the dictatorship.

The violence ended when a police officer arrived in response to a call by the journalists.

Diario Crónica’s staff has been at loggerheads with the newspaper’s management for nearly two weeks as a result of the announced dismissal of at least 71 of its journalists and the elimination of its evening edition.

The meeting had been called so that the representatives of the UTPBA and an internal commission could report back to employees about the outcome of a meeting they had earlier that day with the labour ministry.

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