Late Wednesday night, as protestors continued to rally against the police shooting of unarmed African American, Mike Brown, police in Ferguson, Missouri, used tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs against reporters from Al-Jazeera. We had already reported on the police attack and arrest of MSNBC and Huffington Post reporters, filming down the street from the protests at a McDonald’s. But in this incident, which was captured by local news channel KSDK across the street, Al-Jazeera reporters were attacked and SWAT literally stole their video equipment.
The FAA has also enacted a no-fly zone over the area, preventing news helicopters from covering the scene. Internationally, people are asking what is going on in the United States which is so quick to denounce similar injustices in other nations.
Ash-har Quaraishi, a correspondent for Al Jazeera America was on the scene and said that police were well aware of their presence filming the protest and police response. Quaraishi said that, “I had spoken to police officers who knew we were there. We had had discussions with them. We understood this was as far as we could get in terms of where the protest was going on, about a mile up the road. So, we didn’t think there would be any problems here so we were very surprised
“We were very close to where those [tear gas] canisters were shot from. We yelled, as you heard there [on the video]. We were yelling that we were press. But they continued to fire. We retreated about half a block into the neighborhood, until we could get out of that situation.”
Marla Cichowski, another field producer at Al Jazeera America, similarly said, “We were clearly set up as press with a full live shot set up. As soon as first bullet hit the car we screamed out loud, “We are press,’ ‘This is media.”
Watch the video below…
This is not Egypt. This is not Syria. These are the streets of America, and this is the police state that we are facing. Spread the word.
(Article by James Achisa and Shante Wooten)