At least six journalists detained during Swazi protest
Swazi police detained at least six journalists from foreign media covering pro-democracy protests Tuesday, including two from Agence France-Presse.
A reporter and a photographer from AFP were arrested outside the offices of the Swaziland National Association of Teachers as riot police chased a group of 1,000 protesters with teargas and water cannons.
Jinty Jackson and Stephane de Sakutin were taken to the regional police headquarters, with officers saying they needed to check their accreditation.
One officer slapped Jackson across the chest, but the two said they were released after about 15 minutes, after showing their media accreditation.
While another officer apologised for the incident, Jackson said she heard one policeman bragging that had gotten "rid of all the foreign media."
Around the same time Manqoba Nxumalo, a Swazi journalist working for The Daily Maverick, a South African news site, was arrested along with 15 trade unionists.
He was released after being questioned at the regional police headquarters.
Two South African journalists from Talk Radio 702 were detained for about two hours early Tuesday and later released, their station said.
Dutch journalist Rob Hartgers was also detained, according to the Swaziland Democracy Campaign, one of the groups behind the protests.
Police spokeswoman Wendy Hleta said journalists were being detained only to check their accreditation.
"Journalists were taken in to check for their accreditation, if they have the right papers they are released if not they are helped to apply for one," she said.
© 2011 AFP