Australian Journalists Assaulted by US Police Covering Floyd Protests

  • A US riot police officer beat journalists of the Australian Channel Seven with a shield and baton to keep them from a demonstration near the White House.
  • "We have asked the Australian embassy in Washington D.C. to investigate this incident," Payne said to the ABC.
  • Protests supporting Floyd took place in several Australian cities, with more planned.

Australia will investigate the attack by US police on two Australian journalists that were covering protests in the United States against the brutal murder of George Floyd, an African-American. The Australian Foreign Affairs Minister, Marise Payne, made the announcement today, stating that the incident was a serious one and it raises serious concern.

The George Floyd protests, and riots, are an ongoing series of violent uprisings in the United States that initially started in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before spreading nationwide. As of May 31, there were simultaneous protests in over 100 other cities in the United States and internationally supporting those seeking justice for Floyd as well as speaking out against excessive police brutality.

As per video footage that went viral on social media, a US riot police officer beat journalists of the Australian Channel Seven with a shield and baton to keep them from a demonstration near the White House in Washington. 

“We have asked the Australian embassy in Washington D.C. to investigate this incident,” Payne said to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “I want to get further advice on how we would go about registering Australia’s strong concerns with the responsible local authorities in Washington.” Payne added, “So our Embassy in the United States will approach the relevant authorities, and Channel Seven will also provide us with their views on how they wish to deal with it,”

The International Press Institute, a worldwide network of media owners and editors, on Monday condemned the attacks on journalists covering the current wave of protests in several US cities.

The protests began after George Floyd, a black man in his forties, died on the 25th after being arrested for allegedly using a fake $20 bill in a supermarket. In videos recorded by passers-by, a policeman is seen with his knee on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes, even when Floyd begs for his breath before he passed on.

Marise Payne is an Australian politician who has been Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Morrison Government since 2018, and was also appointed Minister for Women in 2019. She has been a Senator for New South Wales since 1997, representing the Liberal Party.

Thousands of people marched in downtown Sydney today, expressing solidarity with the Americans who have been demonstrating in anger owing to the killing of George Floyd. Protesters roamed Australia’s largest city, chanting “I can’t breathe,” the last words of Floyd, but also of David Dungay, a 26-year-old aborigine who died in a Sydney prison in 2015 when he was being detained by five guards.

Protesters held up placards reading: “Black Lives Matter,” “Aboriginal Lives Matter,” and “White Silence is Violence.” They said, “We are here because you are not,” accompanied by images of Floyd and Dungay. About 2,000 protesters gathered in the city of Perth, on the west coast of Australia on Monday night, to protest peacefully over Floyd’s death. Rallies are planned for other Australian cities this week.

An Australian indigenous deputy called on governments to use Floyd’s death as an opportunity to reduce the deaths of indigenous people in custody. Linda Burney, an opposition spokesman for indigenous Australians, argued that more than 430 indigenous people have died in Australian police custody since 1991.

I think we should be using it as an opportunity,” Burney told the ABC, referring to Floyd’s death. She added:

“Whether we like it or not, it doesn’t take much for racism to come out of the underbelly of this country. It seems to me that there are lots of things that state and territory governments could do, and the federal government could do to lower the number of Aboriginal people in custody.”

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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