Reporters beaten, cameras smashed in Kandahar protest
KABUL(PAN): Two Pajhwok Afghan News reporters were among four journalists beaten with sticks and fists by protestors and their cameras smashed during a demonstration against the Quran burning incident in southern Kandahar province on Saturday.
Hundreds of people took to the streets in Kandahar city against the burning by a Florida church pastor two weeks ago. The demonstration started from the Shahidano square, with protestors chanting slogans against the US and the Afghan government.
At least nine people were killed and 82 others, including a policeman, were wounded in the unrest, Zalmay Aybubi, the governor spokesman said.
Pajhwok reporter from Kandahar, Bashir Ahmad Naadem, said he visited the venue with his video cameraman, Sadiqullah, and reporters of the Al Jazeera television, Sami Ghairatmal, the Associated Press (AP) photographer, Allauddin, to cover the event.
"We followed the protestors from the Shahidano square to Madad square by covering a distance of one kilometer. We were 500 metres from the demonstration when it turned violent and police fled," he said.
He said when they further went closer, a group among the protesting people attacked them and starting beating them with sticks and fists.
"They were laced with wood sticks and guns. They beat us severely on head, back and snatched our cameras and smashed them," Naadem, who got his one finger broken, said.
However, he said they managed to escape and took refuge in a nearby house. Later, police took them to another house and asked the house owner to take care of them, he said. "After some time, my boons started aches," he said.
The AP photographer, Allauddin, said the protestors did not hear to them and continued to beat them up. "They did not give us a chance to speak," he said.
The governor's office said some hardcore militants had penetrated the demonstration to turn it violent.
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