Washington, DC (AFP) – The BBC asked the White House to review security arrangements Tuesday after a BBC cameraman was assaulted at a rally in Texas with President Donald Trump.
British Broadcasting Corporation cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked by a Trump supporter yelling anti-media slogans during the US president’s rally in El Paso late Monday.
As he does at most rallies, Trump had repeatedly encouraged the crowd to boo at the journalists covering the event, accusing them of “fake” coverage.
However, Trump spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the president “condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people, including members of the press.”
“We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner,” she said.
Skeans was unhurt and the assailant, who was wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, was restrained by a blogger for the pro-Trump outlet Frontline America and removed from the media riser.
Paul Danahar, the BBC’s Americas bureau editor, said in a tweet that he had asked Sanders for a “full review of security arrangements after last night’s attack.”
“Access into the media area was unsupervised,” Danahar said. “No one in law enforcement intervened before, during or after the attack.”
Danahar dismissed a statement from the “Trump for President” campaign, which expressed appreciation for “the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers.”
“There was no swift action to prevent or interrupt the attack by any security agency,” Danahar said.
The White House Correspondents’ Association also condemned the attack.
“We are relieved that, this time, no one was seriously hurt,” said WHCA president Olivier Knox. “The president of the United States should make absolutely clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable.”
BBC Washington correspondent Gary O’Donoghue, who was covering the El Paso event, said his cameraman was pushed and shoved by the unidentified assailant “after the president repeatedly goaded the crowd over supposed media bias.”
He said the man attempted to smash the BBC camera.
“Happily, Ron is fine,” O’Donoghue said.
Trump paused his remarks following the commotion in the crowd and — pointing at the media — asked “You alright? Everything OK?”
He resumed his attacks on the press later in the speech, referring to the “totally dishonest media.”
Trump frequently denounces the media as the “enemy of the people” and condemns critical reports about his administration as “fake news.”
New York Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger urged Trump during an interview last month to tone down what he called his “potentially dangerous” rhetoric toward the press.
© Agence France-Presse
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