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Police accused of heavy-handed tactics on journalists covering anti-mining protests

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Victoria Police have been accused of using heavy-handed tactics on several journalists covering the anti-mining protests in Melbourne.

But police aren’t backing down from their actions.

Vision has emerged of officers rag-dolling Channel 7 reporter Paul Dowsley, while Ailish Hallinan, reporter for Farrago Magazine, was pepper sprayed, despite being “at least five metres away” from police and protesters.

“It was genuinely the most painful experience of my entire life,” Hallinan said.

“It was immeasurably more painful than I imagined being pepper sprayed would be.”

Click PLAY below to see vision

Victoria Police told 3AW Drive it was “aware” of the footage circulating.

“It is unfortunate that members of the public, including journalists, are not following instructions by members of Victoria Police,” police said in a statement.

“In this case, the reporter involved did not follow police instructions to move away from the area.

“This was a safety issue and Victoria Police believes an appropriate amount of force was used to move the reporter from the area.

“We have given media repeated advice to be mindful of their surroundings to ensure their safety to avoid risk of injury.

“It is strongly recommended members of public listen and act immediately upon any police instruction issued.

“We have gone to great lengths over the past few days to ensure media has access to not only report on the protest but also the dynamic police response.

“The police operation is ongoing. Any action taken by police officers has been in response to the protesters’ activity and in accordance with Victoria Police training.”

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