The Arab Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) condemned on Wednesday the assault on a photographer for private Al-Watan newspaper during skirmishes outside the paper’s headquarters between staff and policemen.
The photographer was hospitalised following the incident which occurred on Tuesday night and began when a female journalist at Al-Watan parked her car outside the paper’s office in Giza’s Dokki neighbourhood and a policeman informed her that she was parked illegally and that he had to seize the car. The newspaper said that when she tried to convince him otherwise, he insulted her.
Several of her colleagues intervened in objection to the scene. Tensions rose until eventually, 20 policemen gathered and “assaulted” staff at the paper using “metal tools”, injuring the photographer and four others, the paper said.
The newspaper claimed that one policeman tried to run over one of the paper’s staff, adding: “Then they [police] surrounded the entrance of the paper, closed it and raised their weapons” at staff, “threatening to fire” at them if someone tried to open the door to enter or leave for half an hour.
Ministry of Interior Spokesman Hany Abdel Latif described the incident as an “altercation” and said both the prosecution and interior ministry are investigating. He asserted that legal procedures were taken, and stated that in addition to the photographer, one conscript was injured.
ANHRI said: “Policemen abused their positions and violated the law instead of carrying out their duty [of] organising the streets and protecting citizens. In addition, surrounding a newspaper is a crime and a lack of respect to the law they claim to apply and protect.”
The NGO called on policemen to respect the law and “realise that no one is above it”.