Counter-protestors harass journalists during “Unite the Right”
Protestors harassed multiple reporters this weekend during the white supremacy “Unite the Right” rally in downtown D.C. Sunday, including two Washington Times reporters.
Washington Times intern Adam Sabes, who was covering protesters in Lafayette Square, said a man he approached for an interview grew angry after seeing his press credentials.
“Immediately, he became hostile to me,” Mr. Sabes said, and began screaming, accusing the Mississippi State student of working for “fascist media.”
The man, who was not clearly affiliated with any of the several groups protesting, began following Mr. Sabes and tried to get other people to join, saying he “could create a scene.”
“There was one person he told I work for The Washington Times and that person whispered in my ear ”[Expleteive] you,racist,” said Mr. Sabes. The man left him after about 10 minutes.
Another Washington Times reporter, Julia Airey, wondered if one of theanti-fascism, or “antifa,” demonstratorsintended to hit her with a heavy wooden flagpole during the group’s demonstration at 17th and Pennsylvania Avenue in Northwest that afternoon.
“When I brought my phone up to take a picture of him, he moved toward me a little with his hand out, and started to swing the flagpole down,” she said. “He told me, “It ain’t worth it,” so I stepped back but continued shooting.” She noted the vast majority of people she spoke with that day were respectful.
NPR’s Tim Mak was filming the so-called “black bloc” of antifa in the same location at 6 p.m. when one member threw an egg at his head. The camera pans down as he ducked, and avoided, the projectile.
Antifa in Charlottesville this weekend also tried to dissuade reporters from filming or photographing them. NPC reporter Cal Perry tweeted a video of counter-protesters hitting his camera, yelling ”[Expletive] you, snitch-ass news bitch! [Expletive] you!”
The same night he also filmed antifa protests trying to cover his lens with their hands.
Last weekend antifa members also hit Oregonian reporter Eder Campuzano in the face with a water bottle, causing bloodied photos of him to go viral. Mr. Campuzano wrote in a blog post that he “wasn’t attacked, at least as far as I could tell,” and thanked people for their concern about him, and journalists everywhere.
One issue for press safety in the District was that police decided not to construct any weapons checkpoints a measure the District has previously used during other major events down.
D.C. Police told reporters in a briefing Thursday that there would be a weapons ban, and also a gun ban, for which they posted signs on Sunday. But several antifa, and other counter-protestors, brought flag poles and other banned items anyway.
Police arrested 44-year old Pennsylvania resident John Mulligan for allegedly pepper spraying a man wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat. D.C. Chief of police Chief Newsham told reporters later that night that Mr. Mulligan was also carrying a slingshot and “large shards of glass.”
There were no other arrests and only one altercation where police confirm officers pepper-sprayed counter-protestors, near the corner of 13th and G street in Northwest.
Photojournalists were also pushed by police when they allegedly came too close to white nationalists during their march to Lafayette in the District, reported The Daily Beast.