U.S. Press Freedom Tracker

Journalist pushed, his phone charger stolen at UCLA protest

Incident Details

REUTERS/David Swanson

Pro-Palestinian protesters gather at an encampment on the University of California, Los Angeles, campus on April 29, 2024. While covering protests there the following day, independent journalist Anthony Cabassa was pushed and had his phone charger stolen.

— REUTERS/David Swanson
April 30, 2024

Independent journalist Anthony Cabassa was pushed against a wall and his phone charger stolen while reporting on pro-Palestinian protests at the University of California, Los Angeles, on April 30, 2024.

UCLA’s student newspaper, the Daily Bruin, reported that protesters had erected the encampment on campus April 25 to call for a cease-fire in the Israel-Gaza war and demand that the UC system divest from companies that invest in weapons manufacturers for the Israeli military.

Shortly after 1 p.m. on the 30th, Cabassa reported on social media that an individual had stolen his phone charger because he refused to stop filming in a public space. He noted that by the time he was able to speak to university police, the thief was long gone.

In subsequent posts, Cabassa also said that a group of protesters grabbed him and kept him pinned against a wall for approximately a minute in order to prevent him from entering or otherwise reporting on the encampment. In footage of the incident, Cabassa can be heard identifying himself as a credentialed journalist and stating that he has a right to be on public property.

Cabassa did not immediately respond to requests for additional comment.

The U.S. Press Freedom Tracker catalogues press freedom violations in the United States. Email tips to [email protected].