RT News found itself in the headlines earlier this week when Facebook slapped restrictions on its account and Twitter tool Dataminr denied it service. Now one of its reporters is behind bars after being arrested while covering the protests at President Donald Trump’s inauguration earlier today.
RT News reporter caught in the fray
RT America reporter Alexander Rubinstein was arrested in Washington, D.C. near McPherson Square at the corner of 12th and L St. NW, where he happened to be in a crowd of protesters at the time police officers encircled a group of them. According to RT News, he showed the officers his media credentials, but they took him into custody anyway. He was covering the DisruptJ20 Anti-capitalist march in protest of Trump’s inauguration as 45th President of the United States.
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Rubinstein tweeted that he was hit in the face with a flash grenade. He was blinded for a moment, and his ears started ringing. After he was treated for the injuries from the grenade, police encircled the group he was in and informed all of them that they would be arrested. The National Park Police took the group into custody, the reporter said, using riot shields to corral them. He overheard talk amongst the group of filing a lawsuit as some claimed that it is illegal to “kettle” protesters like that.
Police issue statement on arrests of protesters
RT News said it appeared that officers were taking people from the group one at a time, although it was initially unclear whether they were being arrested or simply detained. The Metropolitan Police Department said in a statement that the members of the group were arrested and will face rioting charges. They reported using pepper spray and “other control devices” to “control the criminal actors and protect persons and property.”
Police said that some of the people in the group damaged some of their vehicles and that two officers in uniform suffered “minor injuries from coordinated attacks by members of the group that were attempting to avoid arrest.”
DisruptJ20 claimed that this was the first mass arrest in Washington, D.C. in 14 years, although RT News said that it was unable to verify that claim. This protest was one of several large protests around the area where the inauguration was taking place.