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Journalists stabbed, beaten, arrested in Egypt

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Journalists stabbed, beaten, arrested in Egypt

  • Protesters in Tahrir Square on Thursday.
    Al Jazeera English/FlickrProtesters in Tahrir Square on Thursday.

Journalists covering protests in Egypt reported being beaten, arrested and harassed Thursday in what the White House described as a "concerted campaign to intimidate" foreign press.

A day after footage of Anderson Cooper and his CNN crew being attacked in Tahrir Square circulated widely, more media outlets reported that their journalists had been attacked and many others arrested.  

Reporting for GlobalPost late Thursday, Marcus Oscarsson wrote that Swedish Television's chief correspondent in Cairo, was seriously wounded after a knife attack in Cairo.

Bert Sundstrom, a former US correspondent, was reportedly knifed in the stomach after being abducted and held by his assailants for eight hours, Oscarsson reported.

"Your man is with the Egyptian government, the military. If you SOB's want him, come and get him. The Egyptian government still stands strong," a man replied in Arabic when the Swedish state run TV channel called Sundstrom from Stockholm on Thursday afternoon.

Thursday evening the correspondent was found seriously wounded at a Cairo hospital and was undergoing surgery. Several other Scandinavian journalists reported being attacked in Cairo Thursday, Ocarsson wrote.

U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley on Thursday called the arrests of the journalists part of a "concerted campaign to intimidate" foreign press. "We condemn such actions," Crowley said in a tweet.

Those detained reportedly included Washington Post Cairo bureau chief Leila Fadel and Post photographer Linda Davidson. The New York Times said two of its reporters were held overnight but had been released, and Al Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained, and a fourth was missing.

Meanwhile, the Greek daily Kathimerini said its reporter, Petros Papaconstantinou, was beaten by protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Papaconstantinou was clubbed in the head with a baton and stabbed in the foot, either with a knife or a screwdriver, said Xenia Kounalaki, head of the newspaper's foreign desk. A photographer also sustained minor injuries, Kounalaki said, and both were treated at a Cairo hospital and released, according to CNN.

The BBC tweeted Thursday: "Egyptian security seize BBC equipment at Cairo Hilton in attempt to stop us broadcasting."

The Post reported that the Interior Ministry arrested its team Thursday morning. "We understand that they are safe but in custody, and we have made urgent protests to Egyptian authorities in Cairo and Washington," the Post said on its website. "We've advised the [U.S.] State Department as well."

Anderson Cooper tweeted Thursday: "Situation on ground in Egypt very tense," and "Vehicle I was in attacked. My window smashed. All OK."

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also reported that one of its representatives was detained by police in Cairo after the Hisham Mubarak Law Center was taken over by military police.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attacks: "The freedom of speech, whether journalists or demonstrators — they should be fully guaranteed and protected. That is a ground principle of democracy." 

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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