Security guard assaults newspaper photographer at Covid vaccine center
A news photographer named Cees Elzenga said he was attacked by security guards outside a mass vaccination location run by municipal health service GGD in Enschede. The incident occurred of Friday after security guards pressured Elzenga to delete pictures he took outside the location, which he refused to do, Tubantia reported.
The photojournalist, who also works for Tubantia and had a press card visible, said he first tried to take photos inside of the Covid-19 vaccination facility but was denied entry. Shortly afterward Elzenga took pictures from an empty parking lot in front of the vaccination spot about 50 meters from the entrance.
Security guards approached him and demanded he erase the photos. They also called the police on Elzenga. While waiting for the police to arrive, the journalist decided to take another photo of the situation in which he found himself. At least one security guard then allegedly physically attacked Elzenga, knocking him down to the ground. Someone also attempted to take away his phone, he said.
“You take a picture of a building and a parking lot and they try to knock you to the ground. I absolutely did not see it coming,” he told the newspaper. “I was not a threat to anyone!”
After the police arrived at the location they ordered the security guards to stand down, and told them that the journalist did nothing wrong. Elzenga, who was not seriously injured during the incident, will file a report with police as well as free speech advocacy Persveilig.
“What should I have done differently?” he asked. “Lie in the bushes to take a picture of a parking lot? Then where does it end?”
The Twente branch of the GGD condemned the violence and expressed their regrets about this event. It said that while privacy of its clients and patients is a “high priority”, it also disapproved of the aggressive behavior of the security team.