Latest update: 17/01/2011
FRANCE 24 journalist assaulted by National Front security
FRANCE 24’s political correspondent was assaulted by security personnel from France's far-right National Front at a party congress on Saturday. FRANCE 24 has discontinued direct coverage of the congress in Tours.
By FRANCE 24 (text)
Security personnel from France’s far-right National Front (FN) party assaulted a FRANCE 24 correspondent after a private cocktail reception on Saturday during the party’s congress in the central city of Tours.
Political affairs correspondent Mickael Szames, the journalist in question, said eight FN security officers knocked him to the ground and hit him repeatedly for taking pictures at the reception.
“They later took my cellphone and demanded I delete the pictures, which were of no journalistic value whatsoever. They confiscated my press card and my watch,” Szames said in a live broadcast from Tours.
Szames also said guards used racial slurs and verbally abused him when they took him to a security holding room.
“F****** journalist, I’m going to knock your teeth out,” was one threat against him, he said.
Szames was in Tours Saturday to report on the change in the National Front leadership. After 40 years at the helm, Jean-Marie Le Pen handed over the reins to his daughter, Marine. She was elected to replace him with 68 percent of the vote.
Szames said he reported the assault to local police immediately after being released by FN security but the police told him “there was not much they could do inside of the FN” congress.
Szames filed assault charges against the security personnel later that evening and FRANCE 24 has stopped its direct coverage of the party congress.
Alain Vizier, communications director for the National Front, said the party has threatened to file a lawsuit against FRANCE 24 and another French network, i-Tele, for reporting on the assault.