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Syria war photographer 'wounded by police' during Paris protest


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 against police violence and the government’s new law restricting the sharing of images of officers over the weekend when he was injured.

Photos show 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.

“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 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 of Aleppo for AFP.

Thousands of people across France have gathered in support of press freedom after film of police beating a black music producer fanned anger about a draft law that is seen as curbing the right of journalists to report on police brutality.

In Paris, protesters set street furniture on fire and clashed with police as they tried to block access to some streets. In Lille, Rennes, Strasbourg and other cities thousands more protested against the draft bill.

Jean Castex, the prime minister, has announced that an independent commission will examine and rewrite the controversial article in the draft bill.





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