A man has been charged after allegedly assaulting an Australian journalist live on air while reportedly shouting “Allah Akbar”, with another camera crew from the same network being assaulted just hours later.
9News’s Sophie Walsh was covering the George Floyd protests in London’s Hyde Park on Wednesday. The Europe correspondent was speaking over recorded footage of an earlier protest when she is heard offscreen screaming before the camera returns to Ms Walsh, who is visibly upset.
When the newscaster sitting in the studio in Adelaide asked Ms Walsh if she were okay, she responded: “A man just came up and grabbed me.”
— Nine News Perth (@9NewsPerth) June 3, 2020
“He yelled ‘Allah Akbar’ while making motions to stab her,” the network’s anchor said while later reporting on the incident.
The man was chased, tackled to the ground, and detained by Nine’s camera operator and bystanders until police arrived, according to the network.
While reports said it was unclear if the man had a screwdriver, the network reports police arrested the man for making threats to kill and carrying an offensive weapon, later charging him.
Just 12 hours later, another Australia 9News crew were attacked during coverage of the Black Lives Matter protests outside the British government’s offices on Whitehall and outside Downing Street.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) June 3, 2020
Reporting on the second attack, 9News said reporter Ben Avery and his camera operator were “ambushed” while making a live report. Footage showed the pair being rushed while trying to retreat from danger, and the audio abruptly cutting out as Avery’s microphone was stolen.
Ms Walsh and 9News released a statement following the morning attack, saying: “The offender was very quickly apprehended by police and has since been charged. Nine News appreciates the enormous pressure our international correspondents are currently under and is offering Sophie all the support she needs.
“Sophie is grateful for the outpouring of support she has received from the public and wishes to reassure our viewers that she is safe and well.”
“I don’t think anyone knows the sound of their true scream until they’re in a situation like that where they feel like it’s a life-or-death scenario,” Ms Walsh later told The Today Show. “I did feel like that in a moment.”