Toulouse – “I’m showing these injuries to denounce the deliberate assault of the police forces against the press,” Valentin Belleville writes on his Facebook page.
Three photojournalists covering Saturday’s “yellow vest” demonstration in Toulouse, Southwest in France – and one of them injured in the thigh – claim they were deliberately targeted by the police forces.
“I show these injuries to denounce the deliberate assault of police forces against the press,” Valentin Bellev, 26, an independent photo-writer working with Hans Lucas, writes on his Facebook page.
Saturday afternoon there was tension in the city, with protesters launching various items and police officers responding with tear gas. “We chose to move away from the protesters so that we do not find themselves among them and them and the police forces,” Uhrlih Lembev, photojournalist of the Liberation newspaper in Toulouse, explained to the French Agency. Lembev was together with Bellevue and a third colleague, Erick Lerbre.
According to Lembev, all three squatted. “We were wearing a helmet with the word Press, we had press brassiere and our paraphernalia were visible,” he said, explaining that there was no one around them, within a radius of at least 25 meters and therefore distinct.
Immediately afterwards, a “grenade” exploded at Bellevue’s feet, injuring him on his leg.
For Erick Lerbre, “there is no doubt” that the three of them were targeted. “Why did the journalists come to grips with it? We feel very clearly an intensity and anger of the police forces towards the media, towards those who create the images, “Lembev said.
All three said they denounced and filled an complaint to the police department of internal affairs, the IGPN, and intend to go to court.