An Australian journalist reporting on protests in the US has been caught up in a massive escalation in violence, as the National Guard is rushed in and police began firing on protesters.
US correspondent Tim Arvier was doing live crosses to Today this morning as the situation in Minneapolis continued to deteriorate following the death of George Floyd.
As he spoke, stun grenades exploded around him as officers clashed violently with protesters. Injured demonstrators were wheeled off on trolleys and a whiskey bottle and rocks were thrown through the air as Arvier continued his report.
Violent protests were sparked this week after shocking footage emerged showing a white police officer kneeling on the neck of African-American man George Floyd, who later died.
“This is like a modern day war zone,” Today host Karl Stefanovic said.
“This is unbelievable what is happening on the streets of Minneapolis, where you have the confrontation between the police, and protesters, and as I said before, that chaos is contagious. And Tim is right in the heart of it there,” Stefanovic continued.
Arvier also said he’d seen a “whiskey bottle got thrown at the police” and a “massive rock” hurled at officers shortly after.
“He had no compunction throwing (the rock),” Arvier said.
Shortly after officers began firing rubber bullets on the protesters.
Arvier also said he saw a man getting shot with a tear gas canister “in the face” at “point blank range”.
“It’s a tense situation,” Arvier said, as he crossed from outside of Target with looters striding past him earlier today.
“We are having stun grenades being thrown into the crowd now things are getting ugly,” a breathless Arvier said in a later cross, as explosions flashed around him.
“They are having to struggle to get people into a police station and have a massive crowd around who are happily throwing projectiles at the police,” Arvier said as the crowd swirled around him.
“Police reinforcements are coming in here to reinforce this line, they chased off the protesters down the end of the street, they have moved away.”
Arvier then described the police moving in to arrest protesters, saying the officers were “heavily outnumbered”.
“Some people are pleading for calm here but the stun grenades are going off, it is really starting to get ugly.
“See some protesters are pleading for calm, telling people to stop throwing things actually trying to get the man to safety.
“Down the other end of the street, the people have stormed down the barricades, and here we go, this is where things will really get ugly now,” he continued.
Arvier’s cameraman then turned to cover two women who’d been injured in the protests, and were being wheeled off on trolleys.
Arvier’s coverage is being praised this morning by fellow journalists and viewers, who called the reporting “fantastic” and “jaw-dropping”.