Gaza journalists rally for BBC man

Gaza journalists begin three-day strike as Johnston enters fourth week in captivity.

    Johnston has been held captive longer than any other foreign national kidnapped in the Gaza Strip [AFP]

    'Inadequate response'

     

    More than 300 journalists held a demonstration in Gaza City on Monday in support of Johnston, who was seized as he drove home from work there on March 12.

    "In one year we have had more than 18 journalists kidnapped and not one case has been taken to trial"

    Fakhr Abu Oun, head of the Palestinian Union of Journalists

    The protesters marched to the city's government compound, many sealed their mouths with cloths or tape and carried signs demanding that Johnston be released.

    Around 70 journalists in Ramallah in the West Bank held a similar rally.

    The journalists say they are staging the strike, the third time they have stopped work since Johnston's kidnapping, to protest at what they term an inadequate government response after several foreign nationals were abducted in recent months.

    "We have more than 70,000 police and security men," Abu Oun told Al Jazeera. "Where are they? Where is Alan?"

    "In one year we have had more than 18 journalists kidnapped and not one case has been taken to trial."

     

    Abduction condemned

    Johnston, a veteran journalist who has reported from Afghanistan and Uzbekistan as well as working in Gaza, was seized two days before the announcement of the Palestinian unity government.

    Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, and Ismail Haniya, the prime minister, have both condemned the abduction and pledged to work for Johnston's release.

    Haniya came out to speak to the journalists on and said he was doing his best to end the abduction.

     

    "The journalists and government are [fighting] in the same trench," he said. "We are not taking this issue lightly."

    Elsewhere, about 300 international journalists signed a petition in London calling for Johnston's release that was published in the British newspaper The Guardian.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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