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Police investigating alleged assault of Rebel reporter at Edmonton women’s rally

Marchers gather to take part in solidarity with the Women's March on Washington in Edmonton, Alta., on Jan. 21, 2016.

JASON FRANSON/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Edmonton police say they are investigating an alleged assault said to have occurred Saturday at a rally held at the Alberta legislature in support of the Women's March on Washington.

The complainant is a reporter for The Rebel TV, an online outlet devoted to right-wing commentary, activism and reporting.

In video released by The Rebel, reporter Sheila Gunn Reid is seen attempting to interview an attendant at the rally, which drew more than 2,000 people to support American protesters opposed to the presidency of Donald Trump. The man asks her several times to "go away," then threatens to break her camera when she doesn't.

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The video then appears to show the man shoving his hand into the camera lens. He melted into the crowd afterward, with no one around apparently attempting to stop him.

"He just hit me in the face!" Reid says, attempting to follow the man.

A female bystander tries to calm the situation, telling Reid: "You deserve to be angry ... We need to (ensure) nothing more happens.

"I'm pushing (the man) away."

Reid continues to express her displeasure and addressed the woman, saying "You feminist! That guy just hit me in the face! "I'm the problem, you victim-blamer? He punched me in the face!"

The woman then encouraged Reid to contact security.

Edmonton police confirmed Monday that a complaint has been filed.

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"We are investigating it," said police spokeswoman Noreen Remtulla. " Rebel "commander" Ezra Levant said the video raises several issues.

"There's something weird going on at a women's march when a man assaults a woman and the reaction of the assembled marchers is to assist him in scurrying away and to denounce the victim," he said.

A news photographer working for The Canadian Press was on the scene of the alleged assault. Levant asked why none of his photos were published.

"A photojournalist for Canadian Press, who caught the whole thing, buried the story."

Canadian Press Editor-in-Chief Stephen Meurice said the wire service did not suppress the story.

"The Canadian Press does not have any pictures of the alleged altercation between the protester and the Rebel Media reporter. The photographer who was covering the protest for us, Jason Franson, did not have a good view of the apparent altercation. He shot a couple of frames immediately afterward, but by that point the protester who is alleged to have struck the reporter's camera was already gone," he said in a statement.

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"CP did not publish those photos as they did not have any news value on their own. There was no 'suppression' of the story, as Rebel Media maintained."

Levant added the photographer also jostled Reid when both were attempting to get similar shots.

"That CP reporter had some denigrating words for Sheila and actually physically bumped her," he said.

Meurice said the photographer – an experienced, award-winning shooter – was trying to get a newsworthy shot.

"He maintains that he stepped in front of (Reid) to get a shot of some protesters when she refused several requests to make some room for him, but there was no physical contact between them. Nothing in the publicly released Rebel video contradicts his account."

On its website, The Rebel is now attempting to raise funds to pay a security detail for Reid.

"We're simply not going to let (Alberta Premier Rachel) Notley's street gangs stop us," said a post with Levant's name at the bottom.

Making a Canadian mark at the Women's March on Washington
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