Demonstrators Occupy London News Headquarters Over Pandemic Coverage
Police were called to the ITN production studios in central London on Aug. 23, according to the Met Police, after a group “unlawfully gained access to the building.”
Two hours later the protesters had left, according to police.
Estimates suggest there were about 100 people in the group.
They appear to be part of a larger group of protesters in the area.
Less than a mile away, other protesters were gathering for about an hour outside the Google building in central London, where police prevented them from entering.
At around 2 p.m. the Met Police said in a statement: “Officers are responding to a demonstration at a private premises on Gray’s Inn Road, where people have unlawfully gained access to the building. Officers are on scene engaging with building security and removing those who have gained entry.”
An hour-and-a-half later, the police said that the protesters had left the building.
Videos posted to social media show dozens of protesters walking into the reception area of the studio buildings. Later footage shows dozens of police officers preventing them further access to the building. Some protesters appear to attempt to force their way further inside and are prevented by police. One video shows pushing and shoving between police officers and the protesters.
The police made no mention of arrests in their latest statement.
ITN staff were locked into the building for the duration of the protest.
According to ITV, an ITN spokesperson said:
“The abuse of journalists because of their reporting on coronavirus is a worrying development which ITN has been closely monitoring and actively ensuring staff are aware of precautions to avoid coming to any harm. This action resulted in journalists being prevented from being able to go about their news-gathering activities, something that ITN strongly condemns.”
Few in the protest carried placards and it did not appear to be organised under a single umbrella organisation or message.
Video footage suggests they object to news reporting on vaccine safety and on other aspects of the pandemic.
A video live-streamed from within the nearby protest that went to Google, entitled “Anti Health Passport Rally,” suggests a variety of grievances including pandemic restrictions, vaccine passports, and in particular how the media have reported on vaccines and on the pandemic in general.
A common theme among the speakers was that the media have ignored previous large-scale protests against pandemic restrictions. Whilst smaller Extinction Rebellion protests get reported, they complained, their protests do not.
A video circulated on Twitter showed protesters yelling abuse at veteran news anchor Jon Snow as he made his way in to the ITN building on Gray’s Inn Road.
Several times in the last few months, groups have peeled away from broader large-scale protests against pandemic measures to protest outside media premises.
Last month, a group of protesters similarly sought out a broadcast building once headquartered by BBC news, and now used to host other broadcasts.
Tue, 08/24/2021 – 05:00