BBC journalist Nicholas Watt chased through streets by anti-lockdown protesters

A BBC journalist was chased and abused at an anti-lockdown protest outside Westminster. 

Videos posted on social media show Nicholas Watt, the political editor of BBC Newsnight, being followed by a large group of protesters chanting "traitor" and "scum". 

One can be heard shouting: "Why have you reported that lockdowns are legal? How can it be legal to lock people in their houses?"

Absolutely horrifying footage of thugs going after the Newsnight's Nick Watt – one of the loveliest people in journalism – at a small anti lockdown protest outside Number 10.

Watch how vile and intimidating they get. In broad daylight. Genuinely shocking.pic.twitter.com/4LcZsDSwiF

— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) June 15, 2021

The aggressive group forced Mr Watt to turn around and sprint back to safety behind the gates of Downing Street, which were heavily guarded by police due to the protest. 

A spokeswoman for BBC News said: "This behaviour is completely unacceptable. All journalists should be able to carry out their work without intimidation or impediment."

The editor of BBC Newsnight, Esme Wren, added: "Harassing and intimidating any journalist is completely unacceptable."

Nick Watt is the political editor of BBC Newsnight

MPs on both sides of the House condemned the scenes. Tory MP Alicia Keanes said: "This is just so utterly wrong.  Shame, shame on all those in this video behaving appalling. A baying mob. Nick Watt deserves better. Society deserves better."

Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: "I am horrified by the video of him being abused for doing his job. A free press is integral to our democracy."

SNP MP Gavin Newlands said the individuals who chased Mr Watt were "utter scumbags". 

The Metropolitan Police confirmed they are investigating the incident and have requested witnesses to come forward with information.

In a statement, the force said: "We are aware of a video circulating online from Monday, 14 June in Whitehall during a protest. This sort of behaviour is not acceptable and police are investigating the incident."

This is a breaking news story, more to follow.

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