Row Widens  After German Police Blocked  TV  Crew at PEGIDA Rally

A scandal about German police officers obstructing a TV crew at a far-right rally has escalated after it emerged that the protester at the centre of the incident was an off-duty police staff, raising further concerns about entrenched right-wing sympathies among the police and attacks on press freedom.

Authorities in Saxony confirmed on Wednesday that the police employee had attended a march by anti-Islam and anti-migrant group PEGIDA in the state capital, Dresden, on August 18 and had reported journalists covering the rally to police, who detained them for 45 minutes.

Video footage showed a well-built man in sunglasses and a hat in the colours of the German flag confronting the crew working for public broadcaster ZDF, waving his hands at the camera, telling them not to film and reporting them to the police.

The ZDF reporter, Arndt Ginzel, accused police of effectively acting as the “executive” arm of PEGIDA.

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