- SANEF has welcomed the arrest of suspects who allegedly attacked two journalists during an anti-mask protest at Fish Hoek beach.
- eNCA journalist Monique Mortlock's mask was ripped off while she covered the protest.
- One of the suspects, who was due to appear in court on Monday, has been sent for psychiatric evaluation.
The South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) has welcomed the arrest of suspects following the attack on two journalists at Fish Hoek Beach over the weekend.
"On Saturday, eNCA journalist Monique Mortlock was assaulted while attempting to interview an anti-mask protest organiser at Fish Hoek Beach. The man refused to speak to her and ripped her mask off, while another journalist, Athi Mtongana from Newzroom Afrika, was also attacked," SANEF said.
Mortlock tweeted at the time that one of the event organisers had refused to speak to her because she was wearing a mask and had assaulted her. Another protester allegedly threw her phone to the ground when she attempted to conduct an interview.
Mtongana also tweeted that her phone was slapped out of her hand.
Protesters at Fish Hoek beach approached us & ask if we're media. Told us that anyone wearing a mask supports paedophiles.— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) February 6, 2021
Old lady proceeds to slap-off the phone from my hand.
They're here to protest against the lockdown. Like they did with the open beaches protest last week. pic.twitter.com/tNEu6T43xv
News24 previously reported that the man arrested after the alleged assault, had been sent to the district surgeon to establish whether he needed a psychiatric evaluation.
He was due to appear in the Simon's Town Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of assault and breach of the Disaster Management Act regulations.
"SANEF is encouraged to hear about the swift interventions of law enforcement agencies who reacted to the shocking attack on the two women journalists at the weekend and arrested some of the demonstrators concerned," the organisation said in a statement.
"Some [protesters] broke the law and endangered the lives of the journalists on the scene by forcing them to take off their masks. SANEF wishes to remind communities that forcefully removing someone's mask is an infringement to their rights to safety by the same people who want their stories told."
The organisation added that attacks on journalists by members of the public "is becoming a worrying trend".
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