AEJ protests about multiple police assaults against journalists during Bucharest mass protests
The Association of European Journalists strongly condemns the behaviour of Romanian police who used unprovoked and unrestrained violence against Romanian and foreign journalists during violent clashes between police and anti-government protestors in Bucharest on the evening of Friday 10 August. Austrian public television (ORF) cameraman Robert Reinprecht, was harshly beaten by riot police and his reporter colleague Ernst Gelegs was harassed and roughly pushed against a wall. Deutsche Welle correspondent Cristian Stefanescu also complained he was arbitrarily and brutally attacked. News reports say several Romanian journalists were singled out, insulted and assaulted despite clearly identifying themselves as members of the media. In all several hundred people were reportedly injured during the prolonged clashes. The AEJ notes that Romania’s president Klaus Iohannis has condemned the actions of the police and called on the interior ministry to explain the way it handled the situation. Many thousands of protestors attended the demonstration to demand the resignation of the government following changes to the law which will make it harder to prosecute corruption cases. The AEJ calls on the Romanian authorities to investigate and bring to justice those responsible, and ensure that law-enforcement officers respect journalists’ safety and their right to report.