Nicholas Watt: Man charged after BBC journalist abused and chased by anti-lockdown protesters

A man has been charged after a BBC journalist was confronted and chased by anti-lockdown protesters close to Downing Street.

Martin Hockridge, 57, is accused of using threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour towards another person with the intention to cause them harassment, alarm or distress.

The 57-year-old, of Harpenden in Hertfordshire, is charged under Section 4A of the Public Order Act.

He is due to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 29 June.

Footage was shared widely on social media on Tuesday showing Nicholas Watt, the political editor of Newsnight, having abuse shouted at him by demonstrators.

Mr Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, ran through the mob beyond a line of police officers as shouts of “traitor” and other slurs were heard.

The incident came as protesters gathered in London to voice their opposition to the government delaying the next stage in its roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions by four weeks.

The Metropolitan Police launched an investigation after reviewing the footage and identifying a number of possible offences.

The force was criticised after initially saying that officers “were not in the immediate vicinity of the incident”, despite widely-shared footage showing officers at the scene.

In a later statement, the Met said it would be “reviewing our actions with a view to improving the policing of events”.

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