RT producer ‘hit with gas canister,’ taken to hospital amid Paris labor reform clashes (VIDEO)
Tens of thousands of protesters, many wearing masks and hoods, descended upon central Paris on the day when the Senate, the upper chamber of the French Parliament, was to discuss controversial labor legislation that has provoked dozens of demonstrations throughout the year.
The two-person crew working for Ruptly, RT’s video news agency, were documenting the rising tensions from just meters away, as protesters began to lob rocks at officers, and officers deployed water cannon and tear gas.
RT’s female producer, who has asked not to be named alongside her colleague, then felt the impact.
“I got hit in the head. I was wearing the helmet but it hit me right between the edge of the helmet and the gas mask. I thought it was a rock but my cameraman said he saw it was a tear gas canister thrown by the police,” she told RT.com
She says a group of protesters stopped to offer medical help and stem the bleeding, but she then began feeling dizzy and was taken to hospital. The producer had previously been taken to hospital after being hit by a projectile thrown by demonstrators earlier this year. That blow left her with a concussion.
A second RT producer who was acting as a cameraman found also himself in peril as police broke their defensive formation and began to advance on the protesters.
“Police began to hit protesters and journalists – they hit my camera and threw me to the floor. Once I was down, they took off my gas mask and helmet, and carried on brutalizing me, while another officer smashed my camera. Finally, I wrestled free of them and escaped, though someone else got me on the chest, as I ran,” he told the channel.
The producer has also gone to hospital to be checked for injuries.
In a separate incident taking place in a different part of Paris, a protester poured black paint over the lens of a camera during a live broadcast with reporter Harry Fear for RT’s English-language channel. RT contributor Anna Baranova has also been intimidated and manhandled in past weeks, by so-called 'casseurs' – or troublemakers –masked men intent on causing violence and vandalizing property.
In total, 40 people – mostly police – have been injured and 58 taken into custody on Tuesday.