SAO PAULO (AP) — Four police officers have been suspended after being caught on video as they beat journalists during an anti-World Cup protest, the Rio de Janeiro police department said Wednesday.
A police department press officer said the four will remain suspended until the conclusion of the investigation. He did not elaborate. The press officer spoke on condition of anonymity, citing departmental rules.
The department said in a statement it “repudiates the acts of violence practiced by police officers,” which were shown on the videotaped images shot on July 13, the tournament’s last day.
Bernardo Moura, a spokesman for the Rio de Janeiro journalists’ union, said 15 journalists were injured at the protest including a Canadian, Peruvian and Italian and two Brazilians working for foreign news agencies. None of the injuries were serious.
The union said in a statement that the journalists were covering a demonstration by about 200 people protesting the billions of dollars spent to host the World Cup — money they said should go toward better hospitals, schools and transportation projects.
“For two hours journalists and protesters were not allowed to leave the Saens Pena Plaza (where the rally was held) and had put up with the physical aggressions and tear gas of the police,” the statement said.