A Spanish journalist was attacked live on air by protesters as she reported on demonstrations marking the second anniversary of the Catalan independence referendum.
Laila Jiménez from the Spanish television network Telecinco was on camera discussing the demonstration taking place around her when she was shouted at by protesters and hit with flying objects, one of which was a reportedly full Red Bull can.
Catalan separatists were demonstrating outside Jaume Balmes school to mark two years since the Catalan independence referendum. Some protesters shouted at Jiménez and tried to get the TV crew to leave, while others tried to protect her. Visibly distressed by the altercation, Jiménez fought to hold back tears in front of the camera.
You can watch footage of Jiménez’s report here:
Jiménez is believed not to have sustained any injuries during the incident, but was forced to change location to continue doing her job.
According to Spanish news site El Pais, some demonstrators said the journalist’s presence was ‘a provocation’, while other pro-independence demonstrators took issue with their angry attitude.
Jiménez said she found the situation ‘humiliating’, while her experience at the march provoked outrage online, with a number of Spanish politicians condemning it. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has also suggested starting an investigation, the Metro reports.
Taking to Twitter, Gabriel Rufián, spokesperson for the Republican Party of Catalonia, said: ‘Doing this with a female worker with a microphone on the street is disgusting.’
Carlos Martinez de la Serna, the CPJ’s program director, said: ‘Authorities must quickly and thoroughly investigate the attacks on Telecinco reporter Laila Jiménez and bring those responsible to justice.’
The harassment of journalists covering protests in Spain is far too common. Authorities must put an end to this trend and ensure that journalists can freely and safely cover demonstrations.
It is believed around 18,000 people marched in the demonstration, though no other incidents were reported to local authorities.
As well as the demonstration outside Jaume Balmes school, rallies were also held across a number of towns in north-eastern Catalonia.
In Girona, a town near the French border, marchers were heard shouting ‘Out with the occupying forces’ at the gates of the Civil Guard barracks before staging a sit-in at the Spanish government’s provincial delegation.
The Catalan independence referendum sparked some of the country’s worst political crises in recent times, as the ruling was passed by the Parliament of Catalonia before being declared illegal and overturned by the Constitutional Court of Spain, where it was deemed a breach of the Spanish Constitution.
Recent polls suggests Catalonian voters are fairly evenly split on the issue.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.