RT France journalist threatened by anti-fascists amid Paris protests

© Charles Platiau
French far-left protesters threatened an RT France correspondent with violent assault as he was filming the clashes between police and demonstrators at rally against labor law reform.

On April 14, the journalist was broadcasting live from the scene of protests on Republic Square via Periscope, when several anti-fascist activists began to insult and threaten him.

One of the participants of the movement Blocus Paris (Siege of Paris) managed to take a picture of the journalist and published it on the group's Facebook page accompanied a call to beat him. The movement is known to be acting in cooperation with the Anti-Fascist Action-Paris Suburbs group (l’Action Antifasciste Paris-Banlieue).

“He is filming for his Periscope here, and hides behind the police when we speak to him. Let’s beat the mother****r,” the post reads.

The comments that followed took the threats even further, with calls to “catch this Putinist cretin”, “make the poor scum miserable” and “send him to the Gulag.”

The original message did not mention the journalist belonging to RT, but it was made public a couple of hours later by a photojournalist Louis Witter. He mocked the correspondent on Twitter, insinuating that while filming a mere protest, some journalists are dressed as if for battle. 

“LOL a protest against the labor law, and some ‘journalists’ are going war helmets and bulletproof vests.”

The storm of insults and threats that followed forced RT France to file a complaint to the French police for “threats submitted in writing, picture or other form.” 

This is not the first time that RT France reporters were confronted by individuals from the anti-fascist movement. Ten days ago, another member of the RT team had been the subject of an attempted assault during the ongoing protests. Luckily, he was unharmed and had decided against making the incident public.

RT France correspondents have been covering the protests since the beginning of demonstrations against the new labor legislation on March 31. The protests have been happening daily ever since, with union members demanding a change in the proposed labor law, while youngsters call for nothing less than the invention of an entirely new political and economic order. 

According to the new reform proposed by Labor Minister Myriam El Khomri earlier in March, employers want to fight unemployment through a number of measures, including reducing payment for working beyond 35 hours. Employers would pay only 10 percent of overtime bonus, instead of the current 25 percent. The movement organizers claim government wants to change current protective labor laws to make it easier and less costly for employers to lay off workers. The government argues that the new law will open up jobs for younger people. Still, whatever the intended benefits, protesters see any attempt to weaken worker protections as a threat.