UK in touch with US about treatment of journalists covering Floyd protests


The UK has contacted the Trump administration over the way journalists have been treated while covering the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death, Downing Street has confirmed.

Number 10 said representations have been made by the British embassy in America to the US Government after reporters were “subject to police action” while following the demonstrations.

It comes after Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer wrote to the Prime Minister on Thursday urging him to contact President Donald Trump over the violence being witnessed on the other side of the Atlantic.

Mr Floyd died after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking days of protest in the US.

US police have come in for criticism for the way they have handled the media reporting on the demonstrations, with footage showing officers blocking cameras and even arresting one US correspondent during a live on-air report.

New York-based British photographer Adam Gray was thrown to the ground, handcuffed and arrested on Sunday while documenting protests in the city’s Union Square, despite displaying his press card to police.

And according to US-outlet NBC, journalists in Minneapolis were targeted with pepper spray, concussion grenades, batons and tear gas by police despite being clearly branded as media personnel.

In his letter to Boris Johnson, Sir Keir asked what the Government was “doing to urge the United States and President Trump to respect human rights and the fundamental democratic right to peaceful protest”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told reporters on Friday: “Our embassy in the US has raised the issue of the protests with the US administration, including on behalf of some British journalists who were subject to police action.

“I’m not going to go into the details of the conversation but… we have been clear from the outset that it is important that journalists can do their job without the fear of arrest or violence.

The No 10 spokesman added: “The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary (Dominic Raab) have both spoken publicly to condemn the death of George Floyd, to express concern at the violence we have seen and to underline the right for people to protest peacefully.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was “hard to not conclude” that Mr Trump was racist.

In an interview airing across the Hits Radio Network on Friday morning, the SNP leader was asked if the US leader was a racist.

She responded: “I think sometimes it’s hard to not conclude that, and what I always say when I’m asked questions, that that is I can’t see inside his head.

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