Egyption Cameramen protest police harassment
|Sunday, July 8,2007 04:19|
|By Hossam el-Hamalawy|
Around 30 Egyptian Cameramen assembled today in front of Press Syndicate in downtown Cairo, to protest police assaults against them while covering demos, and to condemn the recent draconian decree by the Parliament Speaker to ban photographers from taking shots during sessions, after Al-Masry Al-Youm published a picture of PM Ahmad Nazif eating watermelon seeds while a parliamentary session was proceeding. The photographers laid down their cameras in one line on the floor, and sat in silence in front of them for an hour, carrying banners denouncing police brutality like: “Our Cameras Expose Your Abuses.”
The protestors were all Egyptians either working for foreign news wire services like AP, Reuters, DPA, or to independent publications like Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Wafd, Al-Osbou’, Sawt el-Umma, Al-Watani, Al-Karama, Al-Fagr, Al-Ahrar… and more interestingly, representatives from the state-owned publications also showed up including photographers from Al-Ahram, Al-Akhbar, Al-Gomhorriya, State Radio & TV Magazine, and the govt-owned Middle East News Agency. I was told after the demo was over that even a photographer from the NDP’s Al-Watani Al-Youm showed up!
Click on the photo I took below to watch a slideshow of the demo…
The Press Syndicate council member Mohamed Abdul Quddous, who attended the protest, denounced the government attacks on photojournalists. He also announced that parliamentary affairs correspondents were planning to boycott covering parliament news if the banning decree against photographers is not retracted. No date for the start of the boycott has been announced yet.
Here’s an AFP report by Paul Schemm…
Here’s a photo I took of Amr Nabil, the AP’s brave photographer…
The very gifted photographers Nasser Nouri and Amr Abdallah, who’ve been kindly sharing their pix with 3arabawy and The Arabist blogs, and who suffered on a number of occasions from police brutality during demos, were also present.
Here’s a photo I took of Nasser…
And here’s one of Amr…
The protest finished shortly after 12 noon. I later met Al-Masry Al-Youm’s investigative journalist and dear friend Ali Zalat, who was interrogated yesterday by the North Giza Prosecutor as a witness in the case of Imbaba’s Videogate.
Ali’s friends were concerned for his safety yesterday as he was being followed by police agents from the Imbaba Police Station when coming out from the Prosecutor’s building. There were even false rumours he was detained, that’s why several concerned friends were in touch with Ali over the phone as he finally departed the Prosecutor’s building safely, in the company of the EOHR lawyers shortly after 1am.