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"Enough attacks on the press!" With that as their call, some 200 journalists and members of the media gathered this afternoon in Barcelona's plaça Catalunya. The rally comes after 65 journalists, all clearly identified and accredited, were injured whilst reporting on protests over last week, the majority due to actions by the police. Two further journalists were arrested, one in Barcelona and one in Tarragona.

This Tuesday's protest was originally the personal initiative of a number of professionals, to which various unions and professional groups added their support, like Sindicat de la Imatge, Sindicat de Periodistes de Catalunya, Associació de Dones Periodistes, Grup de Periodistes Ramon Barnils and Col·lectiu Ciutadella-Associació de Periodistes Parlamentaris.

 

During the rally, a manifesto was read calling for "the attacks to stop" and for an end to attempts to "obstruct" journalists from doing their jobs, which they describe as "an attack against the democratic system". The signatories make clear they reject all attacks "wherever they may come from", but that they are particularly serious when they come from public servants, meaning the police. They called for "the facts to be investigated and responsibility to be clarified".

They also called on protesters to not insult or attack journalists from media outlets with editorial lines they don't agree with, saying they should complain about specific instances to the relevant bodies. The manifesto says that journalists are merely doing their jobs and are not responsible for editorial policy.

65 hurt in a week

Since the Supreme Court announced its verdicts, numerous journalists have denounced a variety of police abuses, from blocking them from doing their jobs to being hit with batons and rubber bullets.

One of the most significant incidents came last Friday, when Spanish National Police Corps officers fired rubber bullets at a group of journalists wearing clear identification. One was hit on the neck, and was fortunate to only end up bruised thanks to the gas mask he was wearing..

On Saturday, another photojournalist reported that he had been hit on his left jaw by a rubber bullet, lost a tooth, and that as he left hospital, Spanish police officers laughed at and insulted him.

Two journalists working for El Nacional were also among those injured or attacked. Sira Esclasans was hit in the leg by a foam bullet shot by a member of the Mossos d'Esquadra, Catalonia's police force, whilst Sergi Alcàzar was hit by a Spanish police officer with his baton, as can be seen at 0:27 in the video in the second tweet below:

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