Thursday 18 January 2018

'I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman' - Woman filmed tripping and kicking refugees defends her actions

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

The camera woman who was filmed tripping up a Syrian refugee carrying a child has claimed that she was frightened and that "something snapped".

Petra Laszlo was working for local TV station N1TV, run by the anti-immigration far-Right Jobbik party, when she was caught on camera sticking her leg out as a father fled from police holding his young son.

The video of the deliberate action by the Hungarian, which caused the pair to fall heavily to the ground, was later spread widely on social media.

In a separate incident at the field in Roszke on the same day, when hundreds of refugees broke through a police cordon, Laszlo can be seen kicking a young girl.

Laszlo's behaviour was condemned by many who viewed the footage - and she was later fired by her employers at N1TV.

In a letter sent to right-wing newspaper Magyar Nemzet, Laszlo has now defended her actions saying she was in shock since the incident and she “sincerely regretted what happened”.

The camera was shooting, hundreds of migrants broke through the police cordon, one of them rushed to me and I was scared,” Ms László wrote.

“Then something snapped in me. With the camera in my hand I didn't see who was actually running towards me.

Read more: WATCH: Hungarian TV camera woman fired for tripping Syrian refugees

“I just felt I was being attacked and I had to protect myself.

“It’s hard to make good decisions at a time when everyone is panicking and hundreds of people are running towards you.

“In that moment, my judgement failed.”

A Facebook group called the Petra László Shame Wall has been set up with more than 36,000 'friends' condemning her as a “disgrace”.

“Not all Hungarians are like Petra László,” a post said. “Please do not be angry at Hungary…the majority of Hungarians believe in tolerance and freedom!”

In her letter Ms László described herself as “an unemployed mother with small children, who made a bad decision in a panicked situation”.

She said she did not deserve the “political witch hunt, smears or many death threats” levelled at her since the footage spread online.

“I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman,” she wrote. “I am truly sorry.”

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