Prizewinning photojournalist injured covering Paris protest
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A press freedom group has denounced the "unacceptable" injury of an award-winning Syrian photojournalist during a Paris protest against police brutality.
Ameer Alhalbi, a freelance photographer who worked for Polka Magazine and AFP, was covering the demonstrations over the weekend opposing police violence and the French government's new law restricting sharing images of officers.
In AFP photos Alhalbi's face appears bruised with much of his head covered in bandages.
Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, tweeted that the 24-year-old had been wounded at Place de la Bastille by "a police baton" and condemned the violence.
Place de la Bastille, ajd, le jeune photographe indépendant d’origine syrienne Ameer al Halbi, collaborateur de l'@AFP et de @polkamagazine, a été blessé au visage par un coup de matraque. Identifiable comme journaliste, il couvrait la #marchesdeslibertes (Photo Gabrielle Cezard) pic.twitter.com/3SJUm4C4Ii— Christophe Deloire (@cdeloire) November 28, 2020
"Ameer came from #Syria to #France to take refuge, like several other Syrian journalists. The land of human rights should not threaten them, but protect them," he said in a second tweet.
Deloire also noted Alhalbi had been clearly identified as a journalist.
Dimitri Beck, director of photography for Polka, said that Alhalbi had suffered a broken nose and injured forehead, and had been taken to hospital.
Alhalbi has won several international awards, including second prize in the "Spot News" category for the World Press Photo in 2017, mainly for his coverage of the Syrian conflict in his home city Aleppo for AFP.
Police said Sunday that two demonstrators had complained of being hurt by officers in protests outside Paris, while no count had yet been made in the capital itself.
Some 62 police officers were injured during the Saturday demonstrations, the interior ministry said, while 81 people were arrested.
A number of videos shared online showed marchers beating police officers.
The interior ministry added that 133,000 people had taken part in the demonstrations, 46,000 of them in Paris, while organisers said the figure was 500,000 nationwide and 200,000 in Paris.
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