Anderson Cooper Attacked in Egypt; Media Becomes a Target

CNN’s host escaped to roof in Cairo’s Tahrir Square after being punched in head 10 times by pro-Mubarak supporters

Last Updated: February 2, 2011 @ 1:20 PM

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was attacked by a pro-government mob on Wednesday while covering a chaotic clash of protesters in Cairo's Tahrir Square, as journalists appeared to become targets of pro-government demonstrators.

Cooper said he and his production crew were attacked by demonstrators earlier Wednesday.

"We were set upon by pro-Mubarak supporters, punching us in the head, attacking my producer … my cameraman," Cooper explained on the air. "We realized the situation was getting very bad, very quickly. The crowd kept growing and throwing punches. It was pandemonium."

Cooper added: "Suddenly a young man would look at you and punch you in the face."

No one was seriously hurt, Cooper said, and he and his crew eventually sought refuge on a roof nearby, where Cooper delivered his report for "American Morning":

Cooper was not the only journalist attacked by apparent government supporters on Wednesday.

A spokesperson for Reporters Without Borders said it had received "dozens of confirmed reports of violence against local and international journalists" and told the New York Times “to expect more foreign journalists to be targeted."

CNN senior international correspondent Ben Wedeman, who was attacked last week covering the demonstrations, tweeted: "Appears the pro-government 'demonstrators' have been given instructions to target press."

ABC's "This Week" host Christiane Amanpour, who's been on the ground in Cairo since the weekend, said that her crew was surrounded by an angry mob while filming on a bridge.

"An angry mob surrounded us and chased us into the car shouting that they hate America," Amanpou wrote. "They kicked in the car doors and broke our windshield as we drove away."

A spokesperson for the White House denounced the attacks and called peaceful demonstrations, and urged restraint.