Anti-mask protester arrested for assault on journalist in Fish Hoek
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Cape Town - A small group of protesters took to Fish Hoek Beach at the weekend to protest against the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions.
On Saturday, majority anti-maskers, part of the We Are More (W.A.M) movement, demonstrated calling for all lockdown restrictions to be lifted. Fewer than 30 protesters were protesting.
Tensions rose as some protesters allegedly assaulted two journalists on the scene, and hindered them from carrying out their work -- because they were wearing masks.
The group’s head organiser, Craig Peiser, was detained and arrested by police after he allegedly assaulted eNCA journalist Monique Mortlock. Peiser refused to speak to Mortlock because she was wearing a mask. He allegedly grabbed hold of her mask and allowed it to snap back on to her face and allegedly also swore at Mortlock.
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 and law enforcement were on the scene at the “End Lockdown” demonstration.
Police spokesperson, Andrè Traut, confirmed that Peiser, 40, was arrested on Saturday at around 9.45am on Fish Hoek Beach for assault and crimen injuria following the incident between him and Mortlock.
“The circumstances surrounding the incident are being investigated. Once charged, he is due to make a court appearance in Simon’s Town,” said Traut.
The group’s social media manager, who would not reveal her name, said, “We are still reeling in shock at the moment. Our council is in the process of appointing someone as a spokesperson. I do know that Craig will be outside Simon’s Town Magistrate’ s Court on Monday, making a statement at 8.30-9am.”
The group had organised a similar demonstration at Fish Hoek Beach on January 30, more specifically calling for the beach ban to be lifted.
Affiliate group, Woke Nation, condemned the behaviour of the organiser in a statement, but said they continued to show support to the group.
“Such actions go against the principles of what we stand for and only hamper what we intend to achieve from such demonstrations... While we condemn his actions, we support his cause and the many good people of W.A.M and will continue to do so.”