A journalist and a photographer reporting for Perfil and another working for Página/12 were shot at by police during yesterday’s protest outside Congress, where lawmakers were involved in a scandalous vote on pension reform legislation.
Between them, the three journalists received at least 22 rubber bullet wounds, mostly in the legs and some in the chest, photos revealed. In total, 30 people were seriously injured and 22 more arrested.
“Two motorcycles appeared with policemen. I put my hands in the air with my camera and identified myself as ‘press’ and they shot at me all the same, at my legs”, Perfil’s Marcelo Silvestro, a photojournalist with 20 years’ experience, told Perfil. He received at least 10 rubber bullet shots according to his wounds.
“I haven’t received a rubber bullet wound for 16 years. The last time was during the 2001 crisis,” he said.
His colleague Pablo Cuarterolo, a print journalist for Perfil, was also attacked, this time by officers who refused to give their names.
Pablo Piovano, a photojournalist for Página/12 received 11 rubber bullets to his legs and chest according to his wounds.
Both Cuarterolo and Piovano reported the presence among protesters of police infiltrators who stoked the violence, an accusation that has been regularly made against the security forces and the government since the protest march for Santiago Maldonado on October 1.
Some voices within government have spoken out about a rising climate of violence and hostility in Argentina, though Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña yesterday said he believed it was only a "minority" of protesters.
FOPEA SPEAKS OUT
Argentina’s leading press freedom organisation FOPEA on Friday expressed its disapproval of the attacks, calling on security forces to “guarantee the work of journalists and the right to inform”.
“As a result of the repressive behaviour of the security forces, and the violence of a small group of protesters and even one security officer from the Lower House of Congress, several colleagues and press workers were injured and affected during their work”, a FOPEA press release reads.
The Catholic Church yesterday spoke out yesterday expressing its concern about "political violence" inside and outside Congress and calling for "peace and dialogue".