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22 Jul, 2020 10:51

Russian journalists attacked while covering Portland protests: US law enforcement hit them & broke camera, colleague says

Russian journalists attacked while covering Portland protests: US law enforcement hit them & broke camera, colleague says

A Russian TV crew covering ongoing protests in Portland, Oregon has apparently been assaulted by law enforcement officers cracking down on the demonstrators.

Two Russian journalists were hurt while reporting from the scene of an intense confrontation in front of the federal court in Portland, according to a Sputnik correspondent covering the same events. Vyacheslav Arkhipov, a cameraman with a Russian Channel One, was hit with a baton and thrown to the ground. His camera was smashed by an officer.

His colleague, Yulia Olkhovskaya, was targeted while filming the protest with her phone. An officer took the device and the helmet she was wearing and pushed her to the ground, the reporter said.

A senior official from Channel One said the two were not seriously hurt in the incident, but the damage to their equipment appeared significant.

Speaking after the incident, Olkhovskaya said her cameraman fared worse than she did. “One [officer] hit him in the right arm with a baton with all [their] strength while another one grabbed his camera and smashed it on the ground,” she said in an interview. According to her account, the officers emerged from the courthouse and were wearing khaki gear, indicating that they were federal rather than Portland police. 

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Both journalists were wearing their press credentials at the time they were targeted. Earlier in the night the crew was caught in a cloud of tear gas, which the officers used against the protesters. Olkhovskaya also said that law enforcement “were unlikely not to see” their press cards.

Protests in front of the federal court in Portland have been happening nightly for over two months, escalating into riots on numerous occasions. The city saw a surge of violence recently after the Trump administration deployed additional federal law enforcement officers to deal with the activists.

The incident prompted the Russian embassy in Washington to file a note of protest to the State Department.

Ambassador Anatoly Antonov denounced the attack on the TV crew as “outrageous” and called for a “thorough investigation” into the incident. He also noted that the US diplomats still provided no answer to the embassy’s previous note filed over a similar attack on Russian journalists by the police in Minneapolis in May.

The Russian journalists got hurt while filming an attempt by protesters to set the entrance to the courthouse on fire.

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