14 Feb 2020 Lvl. 2
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Alert created on: 13 Dec 2019 n° 149/2019 France

Two Journalism Students Arrested in Lille while Photographing Police Officers

Source of threatState
CategoryHarassment and intimidation of journalists
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
Partner EFJ/IFJ RSF
Two students from the Higher School of Journalism (ESJ) were arrested by the police on 12 December 2019 during a demonstration against the pension reform in Lille. One was arrested in the late afternoon on Place de Béthune while photographing the arrest of several demonstrators. With a camera in his hand and safety glasses on his nose, he was thrown to the ground by several police officers, despite objections from his comrades. During a rally in front of the Lille police headquarters, where a group of people chanted "informing is not a crime", a second journalism student, who was about to take a picture, was dragged by arm by a police officer and then taken to the police premises by two officers.

The ESJ denounced the arrest of its students: "The evidence in our possession leads us to believe that they were arrested for taking pictures of police officers in action. The freedom to take pictures during demonstrations is a right. We defend this right for professional journalists and for future journalists. Attempts to restrict this right through intimidation or legislative amendments are not acceptable. We strongly condemn them. "Several journalists' unions, including the SNJ and the SNJ-CGT, also condemned the arrest of the students.
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