Dutch reporters attacked, one hit by car during Covid rule-breaking churches report.
A news crew from broadcaster RTV Rijnmond was attacked in the town of Krimpen aan den IJssel, where they arrived to interview believers outside a Protestant church that, despite the ongoing lockdown of Covid-19, had opened services for the entire congregation. The TV station said the reporter was pushed from behind and then kicked in the stomach.
The pain has gone but I am still shocked - I was attacked during my work this morning by a churchgoer in Krimpen @RTV_Rijnmond - more on this https://t.co/5yHj38zkri - file a declaration first pic.twitter.com/8VJR5np17j
- Jacco van Giessen (@jaccovangiessen) March 28, 2021
Police arrested a 43-year-old man after the incident. Journalist Jacco van Giessen said he was “shocked” by the attack. "I did not expect this in Krimpen on Sunday morning," he told the media after the altercation.
The religious group that owns the church has issued a statement apologizing “to anyone who has been hurt” and asking its members to be peaceful. At the same time, the group blamed the media for "the weeks of mounting tension" surrounding the church.
An almost identical scuffle took place the same day in the city of Urk, where a group of men repeatedly kicked Mark Baanders, a reporter for the TV channel PowNed.
a journalist in The Netherlands was getting beat while he wanted to interview people that went to the church on a Sunday while there is a maximum on how many people are allowed to go to the church. #urk #powned pic.twitter.com/pFNHzUjDCh
- Sam 🇬🇧 (@Fonisy) March 28, 2021
Baanders was also hit by a car in a parking lot outside the church. "I thought the driver was going to stop, but he accelerated," said the journalist. He was not injured.
Police took a 35-year-old man into custody on suspicion of deliberately running a car into reporter Baanders.
A few more local residents were filmed acting hostile to Baanders, with some angrily pushing away his microphone.
The Dutch Association of Editors in Chief said the violence against journalists threatens the freedom of the press and Is “unacceptable”. The group criticized the police for not intervening earlier.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the church in Urk, H. Snoek, accused the journalists of this "Behave like terrorists" en “To look for sensationalism as much as possible” in instead of gathering information. "They blocked the doors and pushed a microphone into children's faces" , he said.