Email of the Week: Journalists Held Hostage by Environmentalist Protesters
We thought you might want to know what a "fun day at the office" Magdalena and I just had. Please read below about how we were assaulted, threatened and imprisoned in our car by the "tolerant" and "peace loving" protesters at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp.
Thank you for all your support,
10/18/2016 Bismarck, North Dakota
JOURNALISTS HELD HOSTAGE IN THEIR CAR BY MOB INSIDE DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE PROTEST CAMPSITE - BLOCKED IN AND THREATENED FOR 30 MINUTES.
Protestors threatened to slash tires, break into the car, seize filming equipment. Journalists were trapped in their car until massive police presence led to their release.
JOURNALISTS Phelim McAleer and Magdalena Segieda were subjected to a terrifying 30 minute ordeal after being attacked by Dakota Access Pipeline Protestors whilst conducting interviews at the Sacred Stone Camp.
It started with one protestor grabbing McAleer's microphone mid-question and physically assaulting him.
Others joined the attack forcing McAleer and his colleagues to flee to their car intending to leave the protest camp.
However the car quickly became surrounded by a mob with a pack of dogs and sticks who also used three vehicles to block in the journalists preventing them from leaving the camp.
The mob became increasingly violent ordering the journalists out of their car warning of the consequences of refusing to get out.
At one point protestors started to shake the car and punched the windows. They also stated they were going to destroy the film equipment and any footage gathered.
"It was a terrifying 30 minutes." McAleer.
"There is a lot of talk about love and peace at the camp but yesterday we got a look at the reality behind the talk and it was an ugly violent reality," he added.
Not being able to escape, the journalists feared for their lives and called the police.
The police deployed several police cars as well as air support and a SWAT team and only after their arrival did the protesters allow the journalist to drive out of the camp.
McAleer said the situation turned violent after he started asking difficult questions about how the protestors were against oil and pipelines but used oil based products (cars & plastic) in their campaign.
"This sends a chilling message to journalists covering the Dakota Access Pipeline story. The message is you can only ask softball questions if you ask difficult questions you will be met with violence and intimidation."
"My fellow journalists need to report this and call them out on this intimidation of journalists just trying to do their job."
Segieda said "We were just doing our job and met with incredible aggression. It was the scariest 30 minutes of my life. If the police didn't arrive I'm not sure if we would have make it out of there and certainly not with our footage".
McAleer, a veteran journalist who covered The Troubles in Northern Ireland said this was one of the most terrifying situations he's ever been in during his long career.