A Channel 7 reporter was bombarded by anti-lockdown protesters in a Sydney park in a moment that was caught on video.
Robert Ovadia is seen walking through Victoria Park in the city’s inner west in the footage, which was streamed live on Facebook on Saturday during a protest march against coronavirus restrictions.
Mr Ovadia looked down at his phone when he was spotted by protesters.
“Hey, are you with the media?” a person can be heard shouting.
“Are you one of us, brother? You’re not with the media are you?”
When Mr Ovadia confirms he’s a journalist with Channel 7 who is there to cover the protest, the person shouts for others to come over.
“Youse are f***ing liars, youse are cheats, you are lying to Australia,” the person shouts at Mr Ovadia.
The person goes on to call Mr Ovadia a “mutt” and a “dog” who “belongs in the ground”.
When Mr Ovadia ignores the provocation, the person puts the camera up close in his face while repeatedly shouting at him to “f*** off”.
When the reporter finally looks up to face the man, a second person physically confronts him as the camera pans away.
As the reporter comes into view again, a man pushes him while another picks up a mobile phone that’s fallen to the ground.
“Take his phone, take his phone, good, good, keep it,” the person filming says.
“Got his phone, let’s go, let’s go.”
The people are then seen running out of the park.
A police spokesman confirmed on Sunday that the incident is under investigation.
“Inquiries are continuing in relation to this incident,” he said.
“At this stage no one has been arrested.”
Channel 7 news director Jason Morrison condemned the behaviour of the people in the video and said the incident was “totally uncalled for”.
“It was an utterly disgraceful moment,” Mr Morrison told NCA NewsWire.
“The police know who they’re going after, and the police will get them.”
NSW Police Minister David Elliott said the incident was an “outrageous attack on our freedom of speech”.
“Our freedom of movement may be restricted but our freedom of speech cannot be restricted,” he told reporters.
“It has never been more important for us to have free access for the media, so that the thousands at home can have reliable, up to date, credible information.”