The UK urges Trump to stop police violence against journalists covering George Floyd protests and let them 'hold power to account without fear of arrest'

tcolson@businessinsider.com (Thomas Colson)
A journalist is seen bleeding after police started firing tear gas and rubber bullets near the 5th police precinct following a demonstration to call for justice for George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of the Minneapolis police, on May 30, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images

  • The UK government calls on Trump to protect the rights of journalists to cover the George Floyd protests after a British photojournalist who had been documenting events in New York was arrested.
  • "Journalists around the world must be free to do their job and hold power to account without fear of arrest or violence," Prime Minister Boris Johnson's spokesman said.
  • Protests raged across America this weekend over the death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.
  • His death has renewed anger over police brutality in the USA and the treatment of African Americans.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The UK government has called on Trump to allow journalists to do their job "without fear of arrest," while covering the "alarming" violence seen at protests about the death of George Floyd, after a British photographer was arrested by police in New York.

Boris Johnson's spokesman described the arrest on Sunday of Adam Gray, a New York-based photographer from the UK who had been documenting protests at rallies in the city, as "very concerning."

"The reporter's arrest and incident are very concerning. Journalists around the world must be free to do their job and hold power to account without fear of arrest or violence," the spokesman said.

"It's the consistent position of the UK that journalists must be able to do their jobs without fear of arrest or violence."

Gray, 33, was taking photographs in Union Square on Sunday when he was thrown to the ground then arrested. Several police officers then climbed on top of him and restrained him, forcing him into handcuffs, the Press Gazette reported.

The photojournalist showed police his press pass, issued by the US State Department, but he was taken away in a police vehicle and spent the night in custody, the Press Gazette reported. He was later charged with unlawful assembly near Union Square.

"Gray said: "The whole time that I was being arrested, I was shouting that I was press and showing them my Foreign Press card, but they just didn't seem to care.

"I get that in the heat of the moment you might get pushed or grabbed, but as soon as you say that you're press, it normally stops there but not this time.

"I've worked in many other countries doing work like this and never has it gone as far as this. I couldn't believe it," he told the Press Gazette.

CNN correspondent, Omar Jimenez, was also arrested by police in Minnesota on Friday, despite Jimenez and his crew repeatedly identifying themselves as journalists and displayed badges confirming their identity.

Multiple journalists and other members of the news media also appear to have been targeted with rubber bullets and tear gas while covering this weekend's demonstrations, USA Today reported.

Downing Street said the violence in the US over recent days was "very alarming."

"The violence we've seen in the US over recent days is clearly very alarming," the UK prime minister's spokesman said on Monda.

"People must be allowed to protest peacefully."

Protests over the death of George Floyd spread rapidly across the US on Friday and continued through the weekend, with largely demonstrations taking place across more than 140 cities.

The death of Floyd, who died after a police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes, has renewed anger over police brutality in the USA and the treatment of African Americans.

Peaceful protests took place alongside violent clashes between demonstrators and the police, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets as some rioters burned cars and smashed shop windows.

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