Man charged after BBC journalist harangued by lockdown protesters

A man has been charged with a public order offence, Scotland Yard has said, after footage online showed a journalist being confronted and chased by a group of protesters in Whitehall.

Martin Hockridge, 57, was charged with an offence under section 4A of the Public Order Act; namely using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards another person with the intention to cause them harassment, alarm or distress.

Hockridge, who is from Harpenden, Hertfordshire, will appear at Westminster magistrates’ court on Tuesday 29 Junie. He was interviewed under caution at a Hertfordshire police station and charged on Tuesday evening.

Crowds had gathered in Westminster on Monday to protest against the government’s four-week extension of coronavirus restrictions in England. Footage posted on social media showed demonstrators shouting abuse in the face of the BBC journalist, Nick Watt as he tried to walk down the street.

The images showed the political editor of the BBC’s Newsnight programme, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, being forced to double-back and run through a group of people who were shouting “traitor” and other slurs at him, before he made it beyond a line of police officers near Downing Street.

Police said they were still working to identify other people involved in the incident and detectives have appealed for the public’s help.

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