Foreigners, tourists and journalists under attack in Cairo

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To be from another country may get you hurt. This is happening to tourists left in a country depending on tourism. Hotels are empty – foreigners fleeing.

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To be from another country may get you hurt. This is happening to tourists left in a country depending on tourism. Hotels are empty – foreigners fleeing.

Foreign journalists in battle-strewn Cairo are being confronted by growing intimidation and suspicion from all sides over their coverage of the uprising against Egypt’s veteran President Hosni Mubarak.

Video and still photographers have been set upon by pro-Mubarak militants as well as by increasingly nervous anti-regime protesters.

On Wednesday night, a crew from Al-Arabiya television had to flee nearby Tahrir Square after a group of anti-regime militants said its broadcasts had taken on a pro-government tilt.

Near the square, policemen in plainclothes and a crowd loyal to the president have also targeted journalists.

The Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini said its correspondent in Cairo was hospitalized with a stab wound to the leg after being attacked by pro-Mubarak demonstrators in central Tahrir Square.

The Greek journalist, Petros Papaconstantinou, said on Kathimerini’s website: “I was spotted by Mubarak supporters. They… beat me with batons on the head and stabbed me lightly in the leg. Some soldiers intervened, but Mubarak’s supporters took everything I had on me in front of the soldiers.”

Washington Post said on its website that witnesses had reported that Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel and photographer Linda Davidson were among two dozen journalists arrested by the Egyptian interior ministry.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has strongly condemned the attacks on journalists covering the ongoing situation in Egypt, terming it as a “violation of international norms“.

“This is a violation of international norms that guarantee freedom of the press and is unacceptable under any circumstances,” Ms. Clinton told reporters at joint conference with Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Gordan Jandrokovic.

“The Egyptian government must demonstrate its willingness to ensure journalists’ ability to report on these events to the people of Egypt and to the world,” she said.

Ms. Clinton also condemned in the strongest terms attacks on peaceful demonstrators, human rights activists, foreigners and diplomats.

“Freedom of assembly, freedom of expression, and freedom of the press are pillars of an open and inclusive society… It is especially in times of crisis that governments must demonstrate their adherence to these universal values,” she said.

Ms. Clinton said it is a responsibility of the Egyptian government and the Army to protect those who are threatened and to hold accountable those who are responsible for these attacks.

The Secretary of State asked the Egyptian government to immediately start the negotiation process for peaceful transition in the country.

The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement that the “attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable”.
‘Telcos forced to send pro-govt SMS’

Egyptian authorities have forced mobile phone operators to broadcast progovernment messages amid protests engulfing the country, British-based operator Vodafone said on Thursday. Vodafone condemned the “unacceptable” situation, which comes after the government cut mobile communications.

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Editor in chief is Linda Hohnholz.