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Gabon23 December 2005

Journalist violently beaten by police

On the morning of 21 December 2005, journalists Joëlle Ibinga and Ginette Moussadji went to Libreville’s seaside boulevard to cover a peaceful demonstration organised not far from the presidential palace. Protestors were calling for compensation and for their right to lands which had been expropriated in the construction of a new Senate building. At the moment when Ibinga approached the protestors for an interview, police launched tear gas grenades. Moussadji, a journalist from private station Télé Africa who was filming the scene, was then chased by a group of four agents who yelled, "The camera!" Once she was on the ground, the journalist was kicked in the back, groin and arms in an effort to get her to relinquish her camera. The police then seized her camera before leaving the area.

On 1 December, Yves-Laurent Goma, a journalist from the private media agency Gabonews, and Agence France-Presse (AFP) journalist Aymeric Vincenot were taken into questioning for having photographed a riot police unit deployed to put down a protest by the political opposition. Goma was slapped inside the police headquarters. Detained for over an hour, the two journalists were only released following the police chief’s personal intervention.

On 24 November, Gabonews journalist Achille Ngoma was beaten by police officers he sought to interview at Awendjé crossroads in Libreville’s fourth district. In April, a cameraman from private station Radiotélévision Nazareth (RTN) was struck by several officers at a bus station, while in 2004, journalist Timothée Memey from private radio station Africa #1 was held over 48 hours and mistreated in detention under the pretext that he "disrespected police officers."

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