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Journalists threatened by police, formal complaint filed

Playa del Carmen, Q.R. — Two journalists who were threatened by local Ministerial Police have filed an official complaint.

The two journalists were covering an event in Playa del Carmen Friday when they say Ministerial Police not only tried to obstruct their way on a public road, but also drew a firearm against them. The complaint was filed Monday with the Specialized Prosecutor’s Office for Attention to Crimes against Journalists and Freedom of Expression. The complaint directs attention to threats and breaching of the seventh article of the Constitution.

The reporters said that they were on their way to the General Hospital when, “We had a violent incident with elements of the Ministerial Police that began to close the way when we were behind an ambulance after covering a shooting at Villas del Sol.”

They recorded the event, showing how along Avenue CTM, the Ministerial Police vehicle closed passage and began to break and speed, forcing them to the shoulders to avoid making contact. The reporters say they were also verbally assaulted.

Reporter Irelis Leal recounts “Later they also started verbally assaulting us, yelling at us through the windows. The copilot drew a gun and showed it to us to try to intimidate us.”

When they arrived at the hospital, the reporters questioned the actions of the police, noting that the vehicle they were driving was clearly marked as Prensa de los Novedades, Peso y Sipse, with one of them even wearing company’s journalism uniform.

“It’s annoying, uncomfortable and frustrating not to let you do your job as a journalist,” she lamented. “When they took out the weapon there was a bit of fear because I thought that at some point there would be a detonation and when they arrived at the hospital they denied everything, but we had already recorded them,” she said.

Damara Hernandez, the second reporter, said “What are they really taking care of? Their focus should have been to escort the ambulance.

“There have been many times that they have attacked us, even physically. I do not think we can continue to keep silent about all this happening.”