Clashes near the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters in Moqattam on Friday witnessed the injury of at least a dozen journalists covering the incident.
Opposition groups called for protests outside the Brotherhood headquarters on Friday to condemn the alleged Brotherhood attacks on political activists and journalists outside the headquarters last week.
The Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression’s (AFTE) hotline received 11 complaints from journalists who were attacked during the Friday clashes. The allegedly attacked journalists represent independent newspapers such as Al-Watan, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Al-Youm Al-Sabei, Al-Wafd and Sada Al-Balad.
“The journalist from Al-Masry Al-Youm was dragged on the ground,” said Sally Al-Haqq, a researcher at AFTE responsible for handling the journalists’ complaints, “whereas the Al-Watan journalist was beaten with a stick on his head. Other journalists received birdshot wounds, shot by security forces.”
Al-Haqq claimed that all attacked journalists were targeted by the perpetrators for covering the clashes. “They all filed complaints accusing Brotherhood youth and police personnel of attacking them,” she said. Al-Haqq added that AFTE received no complaints from journalists working for the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) newspaper.
At least two FJP newspaper journalists were injured during the Friday clashes while covering the incidents. Dozens of journalists protested their attack outside the Press Syndicate on Saturday. They were met with newly-elected syndicate head Diaa Rashwan on the syndicate doorstep.
“We will not stand silent against the attack of any journalist regardless of his political affiliation,” Rashwan said to the crowd of angry journalists.
FJP newspaper’s Chief Editor Adel Al-Ansary also addressed the crowd. He said that he spoke to Rashwan upon the attack on FJP journalists. “Diaa called me back at least five times to check on Mustafa Al-Khatib,” said Al-Ansary, referring to one of the FJP newspaper journalists attacked. “I asked him to add a legal aspect to his humanitarian interest in the incident by filing a report regarding the attack.”
In a televised interview on independent Sada Al-Balad channel on Friday, Rashwan filed a verbal report to the prosecutor general regarding the attacks journalists faced, adding that he will file a written report on Saturday. During the Saturday protest, he called upon anybody who possesses evidence regarding the attacks on journalists to submit them to public prosecutors.
“All attacked journalists were doing their job and thus should be protected from any attacks,” Rashwan said during the televised interview. He added that the syndicate board is considering introducing special jackets for journalists to wear when covering events so that they are distinguished.
“I visited Al-Khatib in hospital,” the syndicate chairman told the protesting journalists. “On my way, I was attacked by a group of Brotherhood youth.”
Over 200 people were injured during the clashes which took place on Friday.
Journalists faced attacks last week outside the Muslim Brotherhood’s headquarters. Rashwan said five journalists were injured during the previous week’s Moqattam clashes, adding that the injuries varied from bruises to fractures. He added that the prosecutor general responded to the complaint he filed against Brotherhood members and ordered three to be arrested for investigation.