Riot police targeted a journalist and cameraperson while on location covering a campesino protest in Catatumbo, Colombia, according to NC Noticias.
"We were covering (the protest) and the police began to attack the campesinos,” journalist Arquimides Gutierrez said. Along with cameraman Luis Fernando Molina, he was covering the indefinite strike actions organized by local farmers and the Patriotic March.
“The peasants ran out as (the police) started firing at them in the bush, (the police) saw that we were recording and they arrested us," Gutierrez said.
Following their initial arrest, the pair said their detention lasted an hour, adding that during that time, they were assaulted by police officers, slapped and sprayed in the face with gasoline. Gutierrez said the agents had accused them of being “informers” who warned protesters of the police-organized ambush.
"They took away the cards where I had recorded how the police were throwing buckshot at the civilians," Gutierrez said, adding that their cell phones had also been confiscated.
NC Noticias denounced the arrests, calling the incident “theft of information” and demanding sanctions and an investigation into the physical assault of the media professionals, whose vests, clothing and microphones clearly identified them as members of the press.
Nearly 1,500 coca growers are mobilizing along the main roads in the department Santander, demanding the central government respond to their requests to stop the violent and continual eradications of their crops and comply with the peace accords President Juan Manuel Santos signed with the former FARC rebels.
Earlier this week, an announcement from the National Agricultural and Popular Table of Interlocution and Agreement warned Catatumba residents of increased repression by Mobile Anti-Riot Squads in Santander.
The indefinite strike has united hundreds of thousands of social and human rights organizations with coca farmers and Indigenous communities demanding authorities accelerate the murder investigations of dozens of social leaders as well as observe the peace agreement.