British Columbia

Charge laid after CBC photojournalist assaulted during pro-Trump protest

A man accused of assaulting a CBC photojournalist during a pro-Trump rally in Vancouver earlier this year has been criminally charged.

Chris Savva is due to appear in court on Dec. 31

CBC News photographer Ben Nelms said he was assaulted by a man at a pro-Trump protest in downtown Vancouver on Jan. 6, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A man accused of assaulting a photojournalist during a rally in support of Donald Trump in Vancouver earlier this year has been criminally charged.

Chris Savva, who's in his mid-20s, was charged with one count of assault on Dec. 13. He is due to appear in court in Vancouver on New Year's Eve, court records show.

Savva was among those at a small protest in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Jan. 6. The rally was one of several smaller protests that broke out across parts of North America after rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol to interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's election victory.

The protest in Vancouver turned violent when a man wearing a black jacket, pants and a mask assaulted CBC News staff photographer Ben Nelms. 

A small group of Trump supporters stage a rally outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Jan. 6, 2021, the same day a crowd of people stormed the U.S. Capitol to interrupt the certification of President Joe Biden's victory in the 2020 election. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Nelms said he was taking photos when one of the protesters charged him and punched him in the face.

"He was upset that I, along with other members of the media, were taking pictures and reporting the event," Nelms said in a statement shortly after the incident.

"Physical violence against members of the media is wrong and doesn't just happen outside of Canada, but here in Vancouver."

Nelms was not seriously hurt.

In the U.S., more than 700 people have been arrested in nearly all 50 states for crimes related to the breach the Capitol. More than 220 people have been charged with assaulting or impeding law enforcement, according to The Associated Press.

They will have to decide whether to plead guilty or go to trial.

With files from The Associated Press

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