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France2 August 2002

Protest over "police brutality" against German journalists

Reporters Without Borders has protested after two German freelance journalists covering an anti-racist demonstration No Border in Strasbourg became victims of French "police brutality".

Carsten Bügener was kicked and tear-gassed while Kathrin Plümer had her film forcibly confiscated during the 24 July demonstration.

"We demand the immediate opening of an inquiry and exemplary sanctions against those responsible for this unacceptable violence", said Reporters Without Borders General Secretary Robert Ménard, in a letter to interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy on 2 August.

"The facts are serious: without even asking the journalists to stop filming and while they were showing their press cards, police seized the camera, repeatedly kicked one of the journalists and ripped the film from the camera. Strasbourg Police had since lost the film, he said, adding, "Such practices, only too familiar under other regimes, are unworthy of the French police and should be severely punished".

Reporters Without Borders recalls that five journalists have already complained of questionable behaviour by French police towards the press over the past year.

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