A video showing protesters in Canada appearing to harass and spit at members of the media has gone viral on social media.
Hundreds of protesters gathered near the Pacific Highway border crossing in Surrey, British Columbia, on Saturday.
The demonstration was part of the self-described “Freedom Convoy” that initially formed against a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for truckers, but has since encompassed anger at wider COVID restrictions and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s government.
CTV Vancouver reported that the protest had begun peacefully but a few hours in, journalists covering the demonstration were harassed and intimidated.
The network broadcast footage showing a man appearing to knock over a camera operator’s equipment, before two men spit in the direction of the operator and journalists.
A 9-second clip of the moment was shared on Twitter by Kamil Karamali, a reporter with Global News, on Sunday.
“Shocking video by @CTVVancouver of 2 protesters spitting on CBC’s reporter and camera operator,” Karamali wrote alongside the clip, which has amassed more than 265,000 views on Twitter.
Karamali also tweeted that he and his camera operator were “swarmed by protesters and followed.”
He shared video footage showing officers escorting them to their vehicle as the crowd jeered and yelled abuse.
“It only gets worse,” he added in another tweet. “The crowd closes in on our unmarked Global News vehicle.”
Another video shows protesters surrounding the vehicle and banging on it. “One man spits at our window,” he added. “Police have to push crowd back so we can try to get out. We finally do.”
Police in Surrey said they are investigating several incidents from Saturday.
“Surrey RCMP is aware of several incidents from earlier today involving a group of aggressive protesters who surrounded members of the media. Police intervention was required due to the actions of the protesters, and to ensure that media members had safe passage to their vehicles,” the police force said in a statement.
“Police will be following up with the reporters and camera people involved to gather their full accounts, including the collection of any video evidence.”
Sgt. Elenore Sturko said: “These kinds of acts of aggression and intimidation towards media, or any member of the public, are simply unacceptable.
“While it is not always safe for our officers to take immediate enforcement action at the time of the alleged offences based on the size of the crowd of protesters, these incidents will be fully investigated and could lead to subsequent arrests or charges.”
Sturko, CBC and Global News have been contacted for additional comment.
It comes after protesters in Ottawa reportedly harassed a TV news crew during a live segment on Saturday.
“I was doing a live hit with @MSNBC this afternoon when our crew was mobbed,” CTV National News journalist Glen McGregor wrote in a tweet on Saturday. “One guy actually spit at us, others called us Nazis. MSNBC had to cut it off almost after it began. Then they chased us down the street to our bureau.”