June 2, 2020 / 11:43 AM / a month ago

German minister hopes 'legitimate' U.S. protests will have an impact

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas attends a news conference with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba after discussing bilateral and international issues, in Berlin, Germany, June 2, 2020. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Pool

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas described as understandable and legitimate protests spreading across the United States following the death of a black man in police custody, adding that authorities there must act to support press freedom.

“The peaceful protests that we see in the U.S., involving many moving gestures, including by American police officers, are understandable and more than legitimate,” he told a news conference.

“I can only express the hope that the peaceful protests don’t turn violent, and even more the hope that they will have an impact,” he added.

He said he would be in touch with U.S. authorities over reports that a crew from German broadcaster Deutsche Welle came under police fire while reporting on a protest in Minneapolis.

“Journalists must be able to do their job, that of carrying out independent reporting, in safety,” he said. “Democratic states governed by the rule of law must apply the highest standards in protecting press freedom.”

Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Michelle Martin

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