“March of liberties” in Paris: a Syrian photographer injured during a police charge

Syrian photographer Ameer al-Halbi was injured during a police charge while covering the “March for Freedoms” on Saturday afternoon, AFP reported. On Twitter, Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders, claimed that the 24-year-old independent photojournalist had been “Wounded in the face by a baton” : “All our solidarity with Ameer al-Halbi. This police violence is unacceptable. Ameer came from Syria to France to take refuge there, as did several other Syrian journalists. The land of human rights does not have to threaten them, but to protect them. ”

AFP photographer Gabrielle Cézard was next to Ameer al-Halbi and said she lost sight of him during a police charge in a small street: “We were identifiable as photographers and all glued to a wall. We shouted “Press! Press!” There were projectiles thrown from the side of the demonstrators. Then the police led a charge, baton in hand, she told AFP. Ameer was the only photographer who didn’t wear a helmet or armband. I lost sight of him and then found him surrounded by people, his face all bloodied and wrapped in bandages. He was psychologically very touched, he cried, and said he didn’t understand “why it was wrong to take pictures.”

According to the journalist of Mediapart Antton Rouget on Twitter, Ameer al-Halbi a “Been taken care of by street medics, who were blocked several times by CRS when taking him to hospital”.

According to Dimitri Beck, director of photography of Polka, who has been following Ameer al-Halbi since arriving in France, the photographer suffered a broken nose and an injured brow bone. He was transported to Lariboisière hospital.

Fall of Aleppo

Ameer al-Halbi (a pseudonym) started photography in his hometown of Aleppo, at just 17 years old. He documents the horror of the war and the fall of Aleppo, between 2013 and 2016, first for Palestinian or Italian agencies and then for Agence France Presse. In one video interview for Museum TV in 2017, Al-Halbi indicates that his model is the Vietnamese photoreporter Nick Ut, author of the famous the little girl with napalm : “I have tried for a long time to take a photo like that of Nick Ut. A photo so strong, that it would be able to end the war in Syria. ” In its early days, her work focused on babies and children in the midst of conflict. We find, in the AFP “Making-of” section, his testimony from a “Hell day in Aleppo”, during the siege of a residential area by Al-Assad forces. In 2016, his father, a volunteer white helmet, was killed in a bombing. He himself was hit by two bullets in 2012.

Ameer Al-Halbi leaves Aleppo with his mother at the end of 2016 for Turkey. He arrived in France in April 2017 where he obtained the status of political refugee. That year it is awarded at the prestigious World Press Photo (2nd prize in the “Spot News – Stories” category), shortly after receiving the magazine’s Photographer of the Year 2016 award Polka. In 2017, in Bayeux (which celebrates war correspondents every year), he also won the “Regard des jeunes de 15 ans” prize for a photo taken for AFP showing two men, each hugging an infant and walking down a ruined Aleppo street. According to a portrait of Bondy Blog published last year, Ameer Al-Halbi was finishing his studies at the Spéos photo school, doing freelance reports on the yellow vests or the Techno parade, while having for project to continue the photography of war, in particular in Africa.

Adrien Franque with AFP


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