As unrest spreads through the Middle East, so has abject violence against members of the media. Wednesday night while reporting on anti-government protests in Manama, Bahrain, ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez was beaten with billy clubs. And the beating happened while he was on the phone filing a report from Manama's Pearl Square, the center of the country's protests.
According to the network, a "gang of thugs" pulled his camera from his hands. "Hey! I'm a journalist here!" he yelled. " I'm going! I'm going! I'm going! I'm going! ... I'm hit," he said. "I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs. I'm now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings. I mean, these people are not screwing around. They're going to clear that square, tonight, ahead of any protest, on Friday. The government clearly does not want this to get any bigger."
Marquez said that he sustained no serious injuries, but his experience seemed to foreshadow coming violence.
Late Wednesday evening, police began cracking down on protesters, spraying tear gas on Pearl Square and percussion grenades on the crowd. Witnesses say they had no warning that the police were going to attack. At least two people have died after being hit with rubber bullets.
"They told us we had three days in the square," said one protester. "And then they attack us on the second day."
Police Crack Down on Mass Protest in Bahrain [NYT]
Miguel Marquez Beaten In Bahrain: ABC News Correspondent Attacked During Protests In Pearl Square [HuffPo]
Bahrain Protests: ABC News Correspondent Beaten [ABC]
Bahrain authorities launch surprise attack on protesters [LA Times]