Dozens demonstrate to protest attack on Lebanese journalist

Other News Materials 28 November 2008 17:47 (UTC +04:00)

Around 200 Lebanese journalists gathered Friday before the anti-Syrian tv channel Future Television to protest an attack on one of its reporters who was beaten up by supporters of a rival camp at a rally in Beirut, reported dpa.

"Freedom of the press in Lebanon should be protected," shouted the journalists who gathered to protest the attack on Omar Harkous, who works for Al-Mustaqbal newspaper and Future Television, which are owned by Saad Hariri, the head of the ruling majority.

Harkous told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa from from his hospital bed that he was attacked by about 20 supporters of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), which has close links with the opposition led by Hezbollah.

He said the assailants struck him on the head and body as he covered an SSNP rally in Beirut on Thursday.

"They started shouting that I was a Jew, that I was their enemy and that I must leave," he said.

On Friday, the army said three suspects had been detained for the attack, while the SSNP expressed regrets over the incident and called for it not to be exploited for political ends.

During deadly clashes in May 2008 between supporters of the parliamentary majority headed by Hariri and the opposition, followers of the opposition forced the closure of all Hariri's media outlets for several days and also set a building that belongs to Future Television on fire.

Hezbollah joined the condemnation of Thursday's incident.

"We condemn any attack on journalists doing their job and we call for the matter to be left in the hands of the legal authorities and for calm to be maintained," it said in a statement.