Journalists say police beat them

The head of the coast guard yesterday ordered an investigation into claims by two Mexican television journalists that they had been physically abused by harbor police after being caught taking photographs within a restricted area in the port of Piraeus on Monday. The Merchant Marine Ministry, which is responsible for the coast guard, said three Mexican journalists had been briefly detained in the area where eight cruise ships will be moored during the Olympics to serve as floating hotels for visiting dignitaries. While not explicitly denying the journalists’ claim – which was repeated to The Associated Press by the Mexican ambassador in Athens – that harbor police beat them, the ministry said doctors who examined one of the alleged victims found no signs of physical abuse. It said the journalists had no permit to take photographs in the restricted area, and had tried to drive away from harbor police. The Athens 2004 Organizing Committee said it strongly regretted the incident. Later yesterday, a Mexican TV crew was briefly detained for filming near the Tatoi airbase north of Athens.

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