The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Namibia Media Professionals Union (NAMPU) in condemning this unwarranted attack by the Namibian police and urges those responsible to be held accountable.
The protest in Chinatown followed the decision of the Namibia Revenue Agency (NamRA) to destroy counterfeit goods confiscated from local traders.
Following a chaotic handling of the crowd by the Police Special Reserve Force, NAMPU received reports that multiple journalists were attacked and shots fired to disperse the crowd.
Journalist Elifas Bonifatius was shot in his left leg and was later taken to hospital to receive treatment.
NAMPU said: "It is disturbing that when dispersing crowds, the police continue to group and treat journalists as ordinary protesters. Such action limits the ability of the press to cover protests and further prevents the public from getting crucial information about such protests”.
According to NAMPU's Secretary General, Sakeus Likela, the brutal treatment of journalists by police forces is not the first of its kind. “Law enforcement officers have a duty to ensure the safety of journalists covering protests and guarantee the right of the public to seek and receive information about such social mobilisations”, he said.
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, called the shooting of journalists by the police "a deliberate act of intimidation". "The Namibian Police ought to know better how to disperse crowds rather than targeting a journalist and wilfully shooting at him. These acts of brutality and intimidation are unacceptable and should be condemned by all the citizens", Bellanger said.