Sunday, June 01, 2014

Turkish Cops Harass CNN Reporter Live On Air

A CNN correspondent was harassed by Turkish plainclothes police as he was live on air, reporting on tensions between the officers and demonstrators on the first anniversary of mass protests in Istanbul.

International correspondent Ivan Watson had just finished explaining that police had closed off central Istanbul to prevent demonstrators from being able to lay flowers at the sight of last year's protests when he himself was manhandled by officers.

Viewers of CNN International on Saturday morning watched as officers demanded to see Watson's press credentials and passport, as well as those of his crew. The camera kept rolling as the officers grabbed Watson and started walking with him. One officer kneed him in the back. They also broke the microphone off CNN's camera while wrestling it out of the hands of the cameraman.

Watson and his team were escorted in police custody. Police officers argued that Watson's press accreditation, issued by the Turkish prime ministry, could have been "counterfeited" and that he had to produce a passport. He was not permitted to leave until the passport was retrieved from the nearby CNN bureau. But officers didn't arrest him. According to Watson, after about a half-hour, the CNN team was released, and another officer apologized for the officer who had kneed him. Police also apologized for the inconvenience.

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