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An anti-lockdown "mob" chased and screamed "traitor" in the face of a BBC news reporter in terrifying scenes as he was covering a protest, footage shows.

Newsnight's political editor Nicholas Watt was rounded on by the clearly enraged crowds in Whitehall on Monday.

In footage of the alarming incident, he can be seen attempting to hurriedly walk away from the throng.

As he does a man holding what appears to be a can of G&T rushes up beside Mr Watt, who was wearing a BBC lanyard, and begins shouting "traitor" at him.

The mask wearing reporter suddenly turns around and breaks through the crowd, while another man behind the camera asks "how can it be legal to lock people in their houses?"

The BBC journalist was chased through the streets
(Image: BBC)

Two other figures, neither wearing a mask, shout "traitor" centimetres from his face, causing Mr Watt to break into a run amid shouts of "scum".

Boos can be heard ringing out as the reporter makes his way round a police cordon and through a gate into Downing Street.

A spokesperson for BBC News said: “This behaviour is completely unacceptable.

"All journalists should be able to carry out their work without intimidation or impediment.”

The action of the crowd – which had gathered in Westminster to protest against the Government's extension of coronavirus restrictions in England by four weeks – was roundly condemned after the video was shared online.

The alarmed journalist made a dash for freedom
(Image: PA)

Nick Watt was chased into Downing Street by the crowd
(Image: PA)

Former BBC interviewer and GB News founder Andrew Neil wrote: “Disgraceful treatment of Nick Watt. A fine reporter and good friend.

"Subjected to the intimidation and thuggery of the mob. Simply terrible. Solidarity with Nick.”

Press freedom campaigner Rebecca Vincent commented: “Appalling, thuggish behaviour by anti-lockdown protesters towards BBC Newsnight political editor Nick Watt.

"This isn’t protest; it’s harassment & possibly assault (given Covid risk). Journalists must be able to do their jobs safely.

The crowd had gathered to protest the extension of the lockdown
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)

Protesters began to gather at around 12pm yesterday
(Image: SIPA USA/PA Images)

"The UK must do better.”

Former Newsnight deputy editor Jess Brammar also condemned the actions of the group who aimed their ire at Mr Watt.

She said: “The video of Nick Watt being chased and abused by a mob is absolutely horrifying.

Ms Brammar added: "It’s upsetting and I don’t know how Nick feels about it, but huge solidarity with him.

"It’s disgusting, he’s doing his job. I know the BBC will be rightly furious about it.”

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: "We are aware of a video circulating online from Monday, 14 June in Whitehall during a protest.

"This sort of behaviour is not acceptable and police are investigating the incident. Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."