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Saturday Jul 24 2021
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Geo News team attacked during London Afghan protest

LONDON: A group of Afghan nationals held a protest outside Pakistan High Commission London on Friday afternoon which turned violent when a Geo News reporting team was attacked by some of the demonstrators.

“The Watan Group" had organized the protest to seek justice for the daughter of the Afghan ambassador to Pakistan who was allegedly kidnapped in Islamabad two weeks ago. Around 50 protestors took part and raised slogans against Pakistan.

There were three incidents of violence. At the start, a protestor punched this reporter and hit his phone while filming the protest. Immediately after that, this reporter called the police and informed them of the attack.

The police arrived after over 40 minutes. Just before the police arrived, around five protestors marched across the road where Pakistani media was present and one of the protestors punched this correspondent, seriously injuring and fracturing his thumb and making the phone fall on the ground.

Minutes later, a Pakistani student, Ehtesham Hasan, 20, who argued with the protestors peacefully, was cornered in Knightsbridge. Geo News cameraman Naseer Ahmed, who was filming the incident, was also attacked by three protestors who broke Geo’s logo and mic and beat him up in the presence of witnesses.

Around a dozen Scotland Yard officers reached the protest venue after a complaint was made to the police about the attack. The police took statements from this reporter and Ahmed.

The police then watched the CCTV camera footage and confirmed that a violent attack had taken place and that it was unprovoked.

The Scotland Yard officer incharge said: “We have reviewed the footage and we can confirm that the assault took place. With help from the footage, we will investigate this matter further. We have given crime reference numbers to the victims.”

The Watan Group’s chief organiser said he was unable to control the youth because “they are upset at the kidnapping of Afghan ambassador’s daughter”. When told that it was the organiser’s job to keep the protest in control, he said he cannot comment further.

A Pakistan High Commission spokesman said that the protest was recorded and the footage has been given to the police. The spokesman said that this is not the first time a protest has turned violent outside the Pakistan High Commission.

The High Commission previously launched a complaint with the police through the diplomatic core, but no action has been taken yet.