French media organisations have denounced attacks on journalists by “yellow vest” anti-government protesters and called for better protection after a series of incidents this weekend.
Paris police fired water cannon and tear gas to push back demonstrators from around the Arc de Triomphe monument, in the ninth straight weekend of protests against French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic reforms.
Journalists covering the protests are increasingly becoming a target for the demonstrators.
In the western city of Rouen, LCI TV reporters were attacked by a group of protesters. One of the security agents working with the TV crew was beaten while he was on the ground and had his nose broken, with footage of the incident widely shared on social media.
In Paris, an LCI reporter was pushed to the ground as demonstrators tried to take away her camera, the station said, adding it would take legal action against the attackers.
Several other stations, including BFM TV and franceinfo, showed images of reporters being hassled or pushed around during Saturday’s “yellow vest” marches.
Reporters without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire called on authorities to take action.
“This is anti-democratic blackmail from people who consider they can beat up journalists if they disagree with the way events are covered,” he said on France Info radio.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on his Twitter feed that anyone attacking reporters would be brought to justice.
“In our democracy, the press is free… attacking journalists is attacking the right to inform,” he said.