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ABC News correspondent Miguel Marquez was attacked today in the Persian Gulf nation of Bahrain as government security forces moved in on protesters.

Marquez had been filing a report from Pearl Square in Bahrain’s capital Manama, where thousands of pro-democracy campaigners had gathered, when police moved in to clear the plaza of protesters. Marquez was surrounded by what he described as a “gang of thugs,” who attacked him with billy clubs and snatched a camera from his hands.

In an audio clip of the attack, Marquez can be heard describing how the square was being bombarded with canisters of tear gas. Seconds later, he comes under physical attack and shouts, “No! No! No! Hey, I’m a journalist here!” After fleeing the square, Marquez says, “I just got beat rather badly by a gang of thugs. I’m now in a marketplace near our hotel where people are cowering in buildings.”

He adds, “These people are not screwing around. They’re going to clear that square tonight, ahead of any protest on Friday. The government clearly does not want this to get any bigger.” At least four protesters died in the early-morning assault on the camp. A member of parliament later told Marquez that two of them were killed with a shotgun.

This is the latest attack on a foreign journalist reporting on the growing unrest in the Middle East and North Africa. CNN’s Anderson Cooper and ABC’s Christiane Amanpour were targeted by supporters of ousted Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak while reporting from Cairo earlier this month. And last week, CBS News correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted and beaten in the Egyptian capital while covering celebrations following Mubarak’s resignation. CBS said Wednesday that she has been released from the hospital.

ABC

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