Paris riot police just started tear gassing pro-Israel supporters outside AFP HQ pic.twitter.com/VHb7ABfeSr— Peter Allen (@peterallenparis) October 22, 2015
The incident happened at a rally organized by the Jewish Defense League, or the Ligue de Défense Juive, outside of the headquarters for the Agence France Presse, which the JDL accuses of covering the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian crisis with an anti-Israel bias.
“We are here to show our support for Israel in our war against the Arabs,” one protestor said, according to the Guardian. “Journalists working for organisations like AFP support the Islamic terrorists and that’s why we have to fight back.”
Others reportedly shouted, “We’re coming to get you!” and called AFP reporters,“Islamic terrorists.”
BuzzFeed News reporter David Perrotin was covering the event when one of the hundred or JDL protestors apparently recognized him. “I know who you are, I have information about you,” the protestor said, according to Buzzfeed. “You are David Perrotin. Wait, I’ll tell the JDL that you’re here.”
Une manifestante me dit: "je préviens la LDJ que vous êtes là Monsieur Perrotin"— David Perrotin (@davidperrotin) October 22, 2015
Police directed him to run toward the police line in front of the AFP building, but as he ran, a group of about a dozen young protesters wearing masks and helmets intercepted him.
The men struck his back. He received a blow to his head, and police later said the blow came from a helmet. As the melee reached police lines, he was also struck by police before they recognized him as a reporter. They then allowed him to enter the AFP building, where AFP staff sheltered him until police escorted him out of the building about 45 minutes later.
The Guardian reports that the dozen or so masked men were armed with batons. Perrotin, however, escaped with only minor injuries. He reportedly plans to file a complaint with police sometime today.
Merci pour les messages de soutien. Tout va bien.— David Perrotin (@davidperrotin) October 23, 2015