March 20, 2007 / 12:21 PM / 12 years ago

Palestinian journalists strike over kidnapping

A Palestinian member of the media holds a poster depicting BBC journalist Alan Johnston during a protest calling for his release, in the West Bank city of Ramallah March 19, 2007. REUTERS/Loay Abu Haykel

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Palestinian journalists in the Gaza Strip went on strike on Tuesday in protest at the abduction of BBC journalist Alan Johnston.

Johnston was seized on March 12 while driving his car in the coastal strip. There has been no public word on his fate despite Palestinian government pledges to find him.

Declaring its 24-hour strike, the Palestinian Journalists Union said in a statement that it could “escalate” such protest actions unless Johnston was released forthwith.

The union called the strike a “protest against the continued status of negligence, carelessness and silence” in Gaza, which has seen spiralling criminal and factional violence since Israel withdrew troops and settlers in 2005 after 38 years of occupation.

Gazan journalists would resume reporting should Israel launch a military attack, or in the event of a serious flare-up in Palestinian street fighting, the union said..

Johnston, who has been the BBC’s Gaza correspondent for three years, is believed to be the only Western journalist still based there full-time following a series of abductions of foreign journalists and aid workers in Gaza in the past year.

All have been released unharmed.

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