14:22 GMT31 October 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Reporters who cover protests and riots across the United States feel increasingly at risk whenever they take out their cameras, as activists resist being filmed out of fear that video and photo records may be used by the police against them.

    Yuliya Olkhovskaia, a Washington-based journalist for Russia’s Channel 1 television station, had her telephone stolen twice and smashed to the ground by activists who attempted to tear down former US President Andrew Jackson's statue in front of the White House earlier this week.

    "I used the phone to film them trying to topple the monument while my cameraman was filming from a different angle. A girl in a hood, one of the protesters, appeared in front of me, demanded to stop, and grabbed the phone. I chased after and she threw it to the ground", Olkhovskaia said. "I was not thinking about the phone. I was terrified that all the video would be lost." Minutes later the phone was snatched from her again and completely broken.

    In another incident, a reporter working in Seattle this week said he was approached by a group of mostly young women who demanded he delete photos of people rehearsing a human chain tactic around an abandoned police precinct in the middle of an activist-held neighborhood.

    "The girls were polite but firm, and they didn’t care that there were no close-ups or images of unmasked individuals. I decided to comply since there is an option of restoring erased pictures", the reporter said. The young women explained police may use the photos "to hunt us down", the reporter added.

    American TV crews now often work without corporate insignia and are accompanied by a couple of bodyguards to repel routine attacks by ideological opponents, rioters, and emotionally unstable individuals alike.

    "They had forty years to tell our stories and they didn’t", a shirtless African-American explained why he tried to block filming by jumping in front of cameras and confronting reporters near the White House. Around an hour later, the man was seen gesturing to passers-by from on top of a tree.

    Outside the autonomous zone in Seattle, a notice attached to a lamppost appeals to "dear non-black photographers", urging them not to film people’s faces without their consent and "prioritize space for black photographers to document".

    "If you are profiting off your photos, is a percentage of the profits being allocated toward organizations that are helping the BLM movement?" the notice said.

    Tags:
    Seattle, BLM, Channel One, United States
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