Police conduct branded 'shocking' after journalist threatened with arrest

The reporter was told by an officer 'stop being obstructive or you will be arrested' while covering a demonstration.

NUJ to contact Police Scotland after journalist threatened with arrest during Glasgow protest PA Media

A union has condemned conduct by Police Scotland as “astonishing and shocking’ after a journalist covering a protest in Glasgow was threatened with arrest.

While covering a pro-Palestinian demonstration at a military electronics factory of company Thales in Govan, reporter Xander Elliards, named by The National newspaper, was approached by an officer.

In a video shared by The National, the officer tells the journalist to “stop being obstructive or you will be arrested”.

The reporter states he is standing on a public street, said to be around 100m from the protest site.

The officer also tells him “I’ll take your phone” before asking him to move from the area.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) Scotland said it will contact Police Scotland over what it described as a “shocking confrontation”.

In a post on X, the NUJ said: “Astonishing and shocking confrontation.

“Journalists need to be free to go about their work without interference from Police Scotland.

“We will be following up on this to ask why police officers apparently are unaware of the law.”

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said in a statement: “During the protest an officer engaged with a journalist and asked him to move away from an area where officers were taking part in an operational briefing.

“Officers provided advice and guidance and no further action was taken.”

Six police officers were injured, including one being bitten on the arm, and four people arrested at the demonstration in Govan on Wednesday after police and protestors clashed.

Two officers attended at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, one was discharged after treatment and the other remains there for further assessment.

Three men aged 18, 28 and 29, and a 21-year-old woman were arrested and charged during the demonstration.

Demonstrators gathered to demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to the war in Gaza.Supplied

They will all be released on an undertaking to appear in court at a later date.

Demonstrators gathered to demand an immediate ceasefire and an end to the war in Gaza.

Chief inspector Derrick Johnston said: “We have a legal duty to protect the rights of people who wish to peacefully protest as well as those affected by protest activity, however officers were met with an unacceptable level of hostility and resistance today.

“One of our officers was bitten, assaults are not part of the job and will not be tolerated, and we were fortunately able to arrest the individual responsible.

“When policing any protest our priorities are to ensure the safety of protestors, the public and police officers involved as well as preventing criminal behaviour or disorder and de-escalating tensions.

“We are committed to protecting the rights of people who wish to protest, however when this is not done peacefully, officers are required to maintain public order and will exercise their powers of arrest if necessary.”

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