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Shot protester loses eye as journalists come under attack in protests

Photographer: Injured Linda Tirado

A STUDENT has lost his right eye after being shot in the face with a police tear gas canister.

Balin Brake said he was peacefully protesting in the city of Fort Wayne, Indiana, when officers fired at the crowd unprovoked.

The 21-year-old, who works part-time at a TV station but was not on duty at the time, was thrown to the ground and then rushed to hospital following the attack on Saturday. Despite emergency surgery, doctors told local media there was ‘nothing left but the shell of his eye’.

‘Small collateral’: Balin Brake’s eye is beyond repair (below) PICTURE: REUTERS

Mr Brake, who was protesting George Floyd’s death in police custody on May 25, later told The Journal Gazette newspaper his injury was ‘small collateral for the battle we’re fighting’. His injury came on the day photographer Linda Tirado was left permanently blind in her left eye after being shot with a rubber bullet as she captured protests in Minneapolis over Mr Floyd’s death.

She is one of a string of journalists to have been attacked by police in recent days.

Investigative news outlet Bellingcat said it had documented 101 cases of media representatives being assaulted by officers, in many cases deliberately.

Among those was a BBC cameraman, who captured on film the moment he was struck by a riot officer at a protest in Washington DC on Sunday.

And on Monday night MSNBC reporter Jo Ling Kent was hit on the arm with a tear gas canister as she reported on demonstrations in Seattle, causing her to scream and swear on live TV.

She tweeted later: ‘Thankfully, our whole team is ok and safe… my jacket sleeve got singed and that’s it.’

Meanwhile, the Australian government has asked its embassy in the US to launch an investigation after two journalists from the country were attacked in Washington DC on Sunday.

7NEWS reporter Amelia Brace was beaten with a truncheon, while her colleague, cameraman Tim Myers, was hit with a riot shield and punched in the face.

She was heard on camera saying: ‘We are really surrounded by the police… they do not care who they are targeting.’