Cairo (AP) - Foreign journalists were beaten with sticks and fists by pro-government mobs on Thursday, and dozens were detained by security forces. The
Foreign photographers reported attacks by supporters of President Hosni Mubarak near
Among the many detained were correspondents for The New York Times, Washington Post and Al-Jazeera. Human rights groups said many activists were taken away after a raid by the military police on a legal center in
"This is a dark day for
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs denounced reports of "systematic targeting" of journalists in
The Sunday Times newspaper's foreign affairs correspondent, Marie Colvin, said armed men gathered outside a home where she was interviewing the family of a protester who'd been shot.
The men of the family locked her in a nearby shop and then helped her through the shoving, shouting crowd to a car, she said.
"What happened today was terrifying," Colvin said. "And you can't call the police."
"I think we need to be clear that the world is watching the actions that are taking place right now in
Douglas Jehl, foreign editor for The Washington Post, said on the paper's website that
Pan-Arab broadcaster Al-Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained by security forces and another was missing.
Egyptian authorities have complained the network's coverage was slanted in favor of protesters and could encourage unrest.
Al-Jazeera also said equipment was stolen and destroyed during the 10 days of protests and its broadcast signal was disrupted.
The Arabic-language satellite channel Al-Arabiya pleaded on an urgent news scroll for the army to protect its offices and journalists.
Two Japanese freelance photographers were attacked while covering the protests in
The Paris-based all-news channel
The Toronto Globe and Mail said two of its reporters were detained by the military for about three hours. One, Sonia Verma, said the pair was picked up with about 25 other foreigners, including other journalists.
The Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini said its correspondent in
The injured Greek correspondent, Petros Papaconstantinou, said on Kathimerini's website that: "I was spotted by Mubarak supporters. They ... beat me with batons on the head and stabbed me lightly in the leg. Some soldiers intervened, but Mubarak's supporters took everything I had on me in front of the soldiers."
The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement that the "attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable."
Associated Press spokesman Paul Colford said that "AP journalists in Egypt have faced the same harassment and intimidation as other news organizations."
One Associated Press location was disrupted by men wielding sticks, and satellite equipment was taken.
"The situation was quickly defused," Colford said. "No one was injured."
Other news outlets reporting beatings and detentions include Turkey's state broadcaster
Polish state television TVP said that two of its crews were detained in Cairo. One was released after one of its cameras was smashed, it said.
Government spokesman Magdy Rady on Wednesday denied government involvement in attacks on reporters and said officials welcomed objective coverage.
"It would help our purpose to have it as transparent as possible. We need your help," Rady told The Associated Press. However, he said some media were not impartial and were "taking sides against Egypt."
CNN's Anderson Cooper said he, a producer and camera operator were set upon by people who began punching them and trying to break their camera on Wednesday. Another CNN reporter, Hala Gorani, said she was shoved against a fence when demonstrators rode in on horses and camels, and feared she would be trampled.
"This is incredibly fast-moving," Cooper said. "I've been in mobs before and I've been in riots, but I've never had it turn so quickly."
In Wednesday's fighting, security forces did not intervene as thousands of people hurled stones and firebombs at each other for hours in and around Tahrir Square.
There were reported assaults that day on journalists for CBS, the
Jean-Francois Lepine of Canada's
"Without them, we probably would have been beaten to death," he said.
Associated Press journalists around the world contributed to this report.