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Attack on Belfast Telegraph photographer Kevin Scott condemned

First Minister Arlene Foster has led condemnation after a Belfast Telegraph photographer was attacked yesterday.

Kevin Scott (26) was set upon by two masked men while covering loyalist disorder in west Belfast.

He was on the scene amid rioting in Lanark Way.

He was assaulted at Cupar Way just after 6pm.

While he did not sustain serious injuries during the attack, he was pushed to the ground and his camera was destroyed.

Mr Scott was also subjected to sectarian abuse and ordered to leave the area.

Police confirmed they were aware of the incident. Mr Scott was advised to leave the area for his own safety after the attack.

Mrs Foster described the assault on Mr Scott as "disgraceful" and said she hoped "the bullies behind this are brought to justice".

"There is no justification for violence. It is wrong and should stop," the DUP leader said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "deeply concerned" by the scenes in west Belfast, including the assault.

Justice Minister Naomi Long said the incident was "absolutely shocking".

"So sorry you were subjected to this for just doing your job," the Alliance leader said.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O'Neill and SDLP leader Colum Eastwood also condemned the attack.

Belfast Telegraph Editor in Chief Eoin Brannigan said: "Journalists should not be attacked, threatened or be subject to sectarian abuse while doing their jobs.

"It's shameful and should be condemned without equivocation.

"There is no justification for it, but unfortunately it's the reality for many journalists going about their work in Northern Ireland."

Amnesty International's Patrick Corrigan said the incident was "the latest attempt to intimidate journalists from doing their jobs and constitutes an outrageous attack on freedom of the press".

He said Amnesty had "been warning of the escalation of chilling threats against journalists" and called for police to bring those responsible to justice.

West Belfast MP Paul Maskey called for an end to loyalist violence "before someone is killed or seriously injured".

"This is utterly unacceptable and is not only an attack on an individual, but the freedom of the press, which is the cornerstone of any democracy," he said.

Mr Scott said that while be believed the motivation for the attack was intimidation, he would not be deterred from his work.

"It has really annoyed me. I cover everything straight down the middle, I operate in every area and any area and nothing has ever feared me," he said.

"I'll be back out doing my job, you can't turn a blind eye to these things. People in this area know who I am and what I'm about, and still I've been attacked."

The PSNI has allocated a senior investigative officer to deal with the issue of threats and harassment towards journalists here.

Belfast Telegraph

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