VIOLENCE – A team from Agence France-Presse was threatened with death and assaulted, while one of the security guards protecting it was injured in the head on Saturday in Paris, during a rally against the vaccination pass organized by Florian Philippot’s Patriot movement.
The demonstrators were half as numerous as at the rally the previous week, but some of them were much more aggressive. While two image reporters (JRI) from AFP, accompanied by two security agents, were covering the anti-sanitary pass rally in Paris, a large group of individuals attacked them and threatened them with death.
According to the journalists’ account, after the first shots were taken without incident, the situation became tense when the procession left at the Palais de Tokyo, when around 150 individuals, identified by them as being from the far right, were arrived near the team.
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In six years of protests, this is the first time I have seen such violence
A hooded individual with a megaphone said: “It’s the AFP, fuck these sons of bitches”, recounts the attacked journalist. At this call, at least fifty people went to the videographer to do battle with her. The protection officers intervened, allowing the two JRIs to flee.
The security guards were then beaten, in particular with truncheons, while they were protecting the videographer, overtaken by about twenty demonstrators. Guards and reporters report receiving death threats before one of the security guards was hit in the head with a bottle, splitting his scalp open. The latter and the two journalists finally managed to take shelter behind a mobile gendarmerie cordon and stopped covering the gathering.
“In six years of protests, this is the first time I have seen such violence”, testified the journalist, shocked by the death threats. “The hooded man behind the movement grabbed me and said ‘I’m going to kill you, look at me, I’m going to kill you'”, she says. “If she had fallen, she would have been beaten up”, adds his videographer colleague.
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Following this attack, the director of information of the AFP, Phil Chetwynd, announced envisaged “to prosecute such inadmissible acts”. On the side of political reactions, Florian Philippot, organizer of the rally, has not spoken, for the moment, on the question.
Later in the evening, journalists also reported incidents of violence during a “parisian pride march” which brought together far-right activists. According to several images broadcast on Twitter, demonstrators attacked passers-by during the course of the procession. According to information fromNewsParis, this march, organized for the 17ᵉ year, was not banned by the police headquarters.
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