‘We Are More’ protesters flout regulations, leader assaults journalist [video]
We Are More (WAM) protest leader Craig Peiser was arrested after he was seen assaulting news reporter Monique Mortlock on camera.
Police watch on as ‘We Are More’ protests turn violent
The group of disgruntled Fish Hoek residents descended on the beach, on Saturday, to voice out their discontent with the mandatory wearing of face masks.
Riot police were present during the picketing. Interestingly, though, WAM protesters were granted leniency that’s not usually observed in demonstrations of this nature.
The group didn’t maintain social distancing. They walked about with no face masks, in close proximity to police whose mandate it was to enforce the law under Alert Level 3 which clearly states that face-mask-wearing is a mandatory practice and failure to abide can result to either a fine or imprisonment.
Protest leader assaults journalist
More disturbing was the intimidation of the media that was there to cover the protest. According to Mortlock, a mere question to Peiser about the WAM protests resulted in her being manhandled, and her mask destroyed by the towering figure.
“He said he could not hear me and I spoke louder. He then said to me he does not speak to people who wear masks. We told him it was the law and he pulled my mask from my face, rips it off. I was completely shocked,” Mortlock recalled.
We are on Fish Hoek Beach to cover the #WeAreMore protest against lockdown. But one of the organisers just assaulted me, even with officers around us. He refuses to speak to me because I'm wearing a mask. @eNCA pic.twitter.com/BYx991Qmd0— Monique Mortlock (@MoniqueMortlock) February 6, 2021
Police spokesperson Andre Traut confirmed the incident to News24. However, in his response, the officer failed to make a statement on the police’s reluctance to use necessary measures to control the situation at Fish Hoek beach.
According to Traut, Peiser faces charges of assault and crimen injuria (racist-related) “following an incident between him and a 29-year-old female reporter.”
Police arrested one of the organizers after he assaulted a news reporter with broadcaster eNCA at Fish Hoek beach, during a #WeAreMore protest action against the lockdown @TimesLIVE @CapeTown #covid19insa @COVID_19_ZA #LockdownSA pic.twitter.com/LmpVQtBNHk— Esa Alexander (@ezaap) February 6, 2021
WAM: ‘Face mask wearers support paedophelia’
In another bizarre encounter, Newzroom Afrika reporter Athi Mthongana was allegedly accosted by a female protester who accused her of supporting paedophilia for wearing a mask in public.
“When I asked her how, she threw my phone to the ground,” Mthongana said.
Protesters at Fish Hoek beach approached us & ask if we're media. Told us that anyone wearing a mask supports paedophiles.— Athi Mtongana (@Artii_M) February 6, 2021
Old lady proceeds to slap-off the phone from my hand.
They're here to protest against the lockdown. Like they did with the open beaches protest last week. pic.twitter.com/tNEu6T43xv
The reporter has vowed to place criminal charges against the female protester. The WAM organisation’s Clay Wilson condemned the actions displayed by Peiser but, in the same breath, supported the group’s cause.
“There are many good people of WAM and will continue to be,” he said.