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'Completely unacceptable': BBC journalist chased and abused by anti-lockdown protesters

The incident happened near Downing Street, London today.

Image: PA Images

THE BBC HAS condemned footage of one of its journalists being aggressively harassed and chased by anti-lockdown protesters in London.

Footage shared on social media showed demonstrators shouting abuse in the fact of Newsnight political editor Nicholas Watt near Downing Street today.

Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, was forced to run through the mob beyond a line of police officers as people shouted “traitor” and other slurs at him.

Crowds had gathered in Westminster to protest against the British Government’s extension of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks.

The BBC said in a statement: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable.

“All journalists should be able to carry out their work without intimidation or impediment.”

Fellow BBC journalist Allie Hodgkins-Brown tweeted: “This is awful. In Central London 2021. Disagree with us fine. Switch us off fine but no journalist deserves this.”

In a tweet, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said it was “disgraceful to see the hounding of Nick Watt doing his job”. 

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“The media must be able to report the facts without fear or favour – they are the lifeblood of our democracy,” Johnson said. 

Jo Stevens, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said: “This extremely disturbing footage showing clear intimidation of a journalist while carrying out his job is absolutely unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest terms.

“It is shocking that a BBC lanyard makes someone a target like this.”

The Metropolitan Police has been contacted for further information.

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