CBC cameraman beaten by mob in Egypt riots

Sylvain Castonguay, a cameraman for CBC’s French all-news network, was beaten by a mob while filming protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the Toronto Star reports.

Agence France-Press reports that

“Cameraman Sylvain Castonguay had gone to the epicentre of the protests with a small hidden camera to film the events. “People in the crowd started to tell off our Egyptian interpreter,” said veteran reporter Jean-Francois Lepine on his network RDI, and then “someone in the crowd punched our cameraman in the face.’

He said the crowd became “hysterical, out of control. It was awful…. Dozens of people began fighting right in front of us…. The soldiers intervened to get our cameraman out.”

“My cameraman, Sylvain Castonguay, probably very nearly died because the crowd was extremely aggressive and large.”

Eventually soldiers from the Egyptian army came to the cameraman’s rescue and brought the team back to their hotel. “That’s what saved our lives. Because without them, we probably would have been beaten to death,” Lepine said. The Canadian Press reported that Castonguay didn’t suffer any major injuries, but experienced nervous shock.

The Toronto Star reports:

“Numerous journalists were attacked in what media-rights groups called an orchestrated campaign of intimidation; they accused hired thugs of working to save the presidency of Hosni Mubarak.

“Reporters Without Borders cited a handful of similar cases. The international Committee to Protect Journalists listed more than 10 other incidents, including one involving CNN anchor Anderson Cooper.”

Reuters reports that Cooper and his crew were attacked when Mubarak supporters tried to steal their camera. Cooper was punched and kicked in the head and body, and the rest of his team was also attacked.

“We were moving quickly and a bunch of guys who hit us were also on the move, a lot of it was sort of glancing blows,” Cooper said in an interview.

Reuters notes that “The TV journalist said he and his crew escaped with just scratches, but that the crowd tried to tear off (female producer Maryanne) Fox’s clothes.”