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Lockdown Protesters Chase Journalist

Boris Johnson denounces harassment from crowd shouting 'traitor' at BBC reporter
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2021 1:33 PM CDT

(Newser) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has denounced protesters of lockdown measures who chased a BBC journalist Monday through London streets. People in the crowd confronted Nicholas Watt, who wore BBC identification, screaming "traitor," before he made a run through the crowd, around a police line, and beyond a gated entrance to Downing Street as people booed, reports inews. Watt is political editor for the show Newsnight. "Disgraceful to see the hounding of Nick Watt doing his job," Johnson tweeted, per Sky News. Watch a tweeted video of the harassment here. "The media must be able to report the facts without fear or favor—they are the lifeblood of our democracy." The crowd was protesting Johnson's decision to postpone the lifting of England's coronavirus restrictions.

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One man in the crowd grabbed Watt by the shoulder, screaming in his face. Another person who confronted him said, "Why did you lie and say lockdowns are legal? How can it be legal to lock people in their house?" The BBC also denounced the attack on its employee, and a former BBC interviewer denounced the "intimidation and thuggery of the mob," per the Mirror. The Labor Party's shadow culture secretary called the confrontation "clear intimidation of a journalist while carrying out his job." Jo Stevens added, "It is shocking that a BBC lanyard makes someone a target like this." Police said that no officers were near Watts at the time but that they've spotted possible crimes on the video. An investigation has begun, the statement said. (Read more BBC stories.)

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