Wednesday 10 August 2011

UK riots: Attacks on journalists and cameramen continue as trouble spreads outside London

A BBC Manchester radio-car was set on fire in Salford last night as journalists continued to come under attack while covering the rioting that has broken out across the UK.

A BBC cameraman was also assaulted by a group of men in Salford just before 6pm and a car belonging to a BBC reporter was set alight.

of : "As I pulled up by Salford precinct, I was greeted by crowds of young people - some as young as 10 or 11. Seconds later cars screeched by as young boys pulled wheelies on motorbikes.

"Within minutes of leaving my car and standing by BBC Radio Manchester's radio-car, bricks were hurled at myself and a colleague. We took cover by the empty markets.

"We were lucky not to get hit and managed to run around the corner where there was a line of police officers wearing riot gear. They were trying to protect the firefighters who had just doused the flames that had ripped through the old library right next to the precinct.

"Gangs cheered as the radio-car went up in flames. The police lines moved forward and as we left more rocks and bricks were thrown at officers.

"Youngsters seemed unaware of the danger they were in as they took pictures on their mobile phones to post on social networking sites."

BBC Radio Manchester has captured the moment its radio car was trashed by rioters. Both members of BBC staff were able to flee the scene unharmed, although the car is a write-off.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists says it is aggrieved by reports that journalists covering the riots in London and other cities in the UK are being attacked.

"We are very concerned that the social unrest has spread to aggression against journalists," said Joel Simon, CPJ executive director. "News organisations must take precautions, but we hope demonstrators recognize that it is in the public interest for journalists, as independent observers, to witness and report the facts."

Pic: Salford Star

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