Two Australian reporters attacked in London protests

Two Australian reporters have been attacked in separate incidents as protesters took to the streets of central London.

Ben Avery was forced to abandon his live coverage near the Houses of Parliament in central London while 12 hours earlier his colleague Sophie Walsh was assaulted by a man as she was in the middle of a live cross to Adelaide.

The man has since been arrested and faces charges of threats to kill and possessing an offensive weapon .

Mr Avery, the network's European correspondent, was forced into a pedestrian tunnel by a crowd which turned their attentions on the media.

Both reporters, the network say, are shaken but relatively unharmed. They also both thanked their camera operators for their help at the time.

Ms Walsh told the Today Show she was "pretty rattled".

"I don't think anyone knows the sound of their true scream until they're in a situation like that and they feel like it's a life or death scenario."

The incidents came as protesters have clashed with police as thousands flooded into central London to demonstrate in response to the death of George Floyd.

Activists chanted "black lives matter" and "we will not be silent" in Hyde Park during a peaceful protest before tensions escalated near the prime minister's Downing St office.

Star Wars actor John Boyega was among those to speak at Wednesday's rally before protesters, many wearing masks and holding placards, marched on the parliamentary offices at Westminster.

Reporters Ben Avery and Sophie Walsh in Central London. Photos: Screen grabs from Channel 9

Reporters Ben Avery and Sophie Walsh in Central London. Photos: Screen grabs from Channel 9

Chief constables from across the UK issued a joint statement saying they "stand alongside all those across the globe who are appalled and horrified" that African-American man Floyd died at the hands of US police.

Floyd died after a white officer held him down by pressing a knee into his neck in Minneapolis on May 25, sparking days of protest in the US.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "appalled and sickened" by Floyd's treatment.

He said people had the right to protest, but urged them to do so peacefully and in accordance with the rules on social distancing.

"Everybody's lives matter, black lives matter, but we must fight this virus as well."

Videos shared on social media showed protesters and police clashing outside Downing St as Johnson spoke to reporters.

The incident comes just two days after an Australian journalist and cameraman were assaulted by US police while reporting on protests outside the White House.

- with Australian Associated Press

This story Two Australian reporters attacked in London protests first appeared on The Canberra Times.