Two journalists named Phelim McAleer and Magdalena Segieda, of the documentary FrackNation, were held hostage in their own car until a sizable police force was able to arrive on scene and escort the two journalists to safety.
McAleer tells the story in an email.
It started with one protestor grabbing McAleer’s microphone mid-question and physically assaulting him.
Others joined the attack forcing McAleer and his colleagues to flee to their car intending to leave the protest camp.
However the car quickly became surrounded by a mob with a pack of dogs and sticks who also used three vehicles to block in the journalists preventing them from leaving the camp.
The mob became increasingly violent ordering the journalists out of their car warning of the consequences of refusing to get out.
At one point protestors started to shake the car and punched the windows. They also stated they were going to destroy the film equipment and any footage gathered.
The situation became so dangerous that the journalists feared for their safety and called the police, who arrived in force to allow McAleer and Sagieda to drive through. The police presence was large, including SWAT vehicles and air support.
The crowd, says McAller, turned violent when he began asking difficult questions, like how they could protest oil and pipelines, but use oil based products in their campaign.
“This sends a chilling message to journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline story,” says McAller. “The message is you can only ask softball questions. If you ask difficult questions you will be met with violence and intimidation.”
Sagieda described the scene as the “scariest 30 minutes of my life,” and said that if police hadn’t arrived, she’s not sure if they would have made it out, much less with their footage. That footage will soon be released to the public, according to McAller.
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