US Ambassador To Australia Responds To US Police Violence Against Australian Journalists

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: United States ambassador to Australia Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr. (L) speaks with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison (R). (Photo by Rohan Thomson/Getty Images)
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June 2, 2020 11:39 a.m.

The U.S. Ambassador to Australia responded Tuesday to images of two Australian journalists being hit by the police Monday as they cleared the way for President Donald Trump’s photo-op in front of St. John’s Church.

“Freedom of the press is a right Australians and Americans hold dear,” Ambassador Arthur Culvahouse Jr. said in a statement. “We take mistreatment of journalists seriously, as do all who take diplomacy seriously.”

“We remain steadfast in our commitment to protecting journalists and guaranteeing equal justice under law for all,” he added after quoting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the importance of a free press.

The two Australian reporters, Seven Network’s cameraman Tim Myers and reporter Amelia Brace, can be seen being smacked by police with a riot shield and baton as they cleared the area near the White House. Audiences in Australia watched live.

“You heard us yelling there that we were media but they don’t care, they’re being indiscriminate at the moment,” Brace narrated on the live feed.

The two were later hit by rubber bullets and tear gas, per the Sydney Morning Herald. 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has reportedly ordered the embassy to look into the episode, and to express Australia’s strong concerns to local authorities.

Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese called the attack “unacceptable.”

The two reporters were swept up in one of the most startling onslaughts of law enforcement aggression Monday, as officers violently cleared the square in front of Lafayette Park  before D.C.’s 7 p.m. curfew began.

President Donald Trump had ordered the protesters be removed so he could take a picture in front of the historic St. John’s Church. The Church’s basement had been mildly burned on Sunday, though the blaze was extinguished before it spread to other parts of the building.

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