U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

NotiCentro vehicle vandalized during Puerto Rico protests

Incident Details

January 23, 2020

A NotiCentro WAPA-TV news vehicle was vandalized while the news crew covered protests in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Jan. 23, 2020.

According to translations made available to the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, reporter Kefrén Velázquez and photojournalist Luis Ojeda were covering protests against Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced and her administration in Old San Juan.

Shortly after police fired a canister of tear gas towards the crowd around 11 p.m., the station’s news vehicle was attacked by protesters, according to an editorial by NotiCentro News Director Rafael Lenín López. A photo published by the outlet shows damage to the side mirrors and windshield, as well as spray painted messages on the hood and side door.

Newspaper Primera Hora reported that Velázquez interceded when protesters attempted to set the car on fire. Though Velázquez was able to stop the vandals, individuals then attacked both journalists. It was not immediately clear how extensive the damage to the vehicle was.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].