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Trump spokesperson says police who attacked Aussie journalists had “a right to defend themselves”

Trump spokesperson says police who attacked Aussie journalists had “a right to defend themselves”

The White House has defended the actions of the policemen who appear to have attacked two Australian journalists at a protest in Washington DC.

Trump spokesperson says police who attacked Aussie journalists had “a right to defend themselves”

Donald Trump’s White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany says the police who attacked two Australian journalists covering protests in Washington, had “a right to defend themselves.”

Channel 7 News journalist Amelia Brace and photojournalist Tim Myers were reporting from a protest outside of the White House when they were punched and hit by police in riot gear.

The two US police officers shown in the video of the incident have since been placed on administrative leave.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also called for an investigation into the attack, says Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

Morrison has “contacted the Australian Embassy in Washington DC on Tuesday instructing them to investigate the troubling incident and provide further advice on registering the Australian government’s concern,” said Payne.

US Ambassador to Australia, Arthur B. Culvahouse Jr., said in a statement that the “freedom of the press is a right Australians and Americans hold dear. We take the mistreatment of journalists seriously.”

Comparing Trump’s visit to the church to Winston’s Churchill visiting bomb-damaged Birmingham during WWII, McEnany defended the police’s actions, before listing off the attacks on police during the protests.

“They acted with the appropriate level of force to protect themselves, and to protect the average citizenry, and to protect the peaceful protesters who were among them as well,” she told reporters.

“Are they protecting the peaceful protesters by firing various chemical agents, and walking through there with batons?” asked one reporter, to which McEnany responded: “Well, it wasn’t tear gas I would note. And what they used was a way to target those that were being violent.”

“They used the minimal force that they could to ensure that that situation was safe, to make sure that St. John’s Church would not burn for a second night in a row,” she added.

Brace and Myers said in addition to being struck by police shields and batons, they were also shot with rubber bullets and struggled to breathe after police fired tear gas into the crowd.

“There was no escape at that moment, we had the [National Guard] behind us the police coming through so quickly there was nowhere for us to go,” said Brace.

Channel 7’s Director of News and Public Affairs, Craig McPherson says the police actions against the two Australian journalists was “nothing short of wanton thuggery.”

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