Hungarian camerawoman filmed kicking and tripping up refugees says 'something snapped'

Petra László said she was 'truly sorry' but did not deserve the criticism

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The Independent Online

The Hungarian camerawoman filmed kicking and tripping over refugees has defended her actions by claiming that she was frightened and “something snapped”.

Petra László was fired with immediate effect when the footage emerged and could face criminal charges for breach of the peace.

In a letter to right-wing newspaper Magyar Nemzet, she said she “sincerely regretted what happened” and had been in shock ever since the incident in Roszke on Tuesday.

“The camera was shooting, hundreds of migrants broke through the police cordon, one of them rushed to me and I was scared,” Ms László wrote.

“Then something snapped in me. With the camera in my hand I didn't see who was actually running towards me.

“I just felt I was being attacked and I had to protect myself.

“It’s hard to make good decisions at a time when everyone is panicking and hundreds of people are running towards you.

“In that moment, my judgement failed.”web-refugees-12-reuters.jpg

Footage showed Ms László among several journalists in a field as hundreds of refugees broke through, being chased by police.

As a man carrying a toddler, broke free from an officer and ran towards her, she can be seen sticking out her leg.

Footage of a separate incident on the same day shows her kicking a young girl trying to run past with her family.

Ms László was working for online television channel N1TV, which is said to have links to Hungary’s far-right Jobbik Party. Its website was down on Friday.

Petra László was caught on camera kicking and tripping up refugees

The channel’s editor in chief Szabolcs Kisberk said in a statement: “The camerawoman’s employment has today been terminated with immediate effect, the case is now closed for us.”

In her letter Ms László described herself as “an unemployed mother with small children, who made a bad decision in a panicked situation”.

She said she did not deserve the “political witch hunt, smears or many death threats” levelled at her since the footage spread online.

“I’m not a heartless, racist, children-kicking camerawoman,” she wrote. “I am truly sorry.”

Several politicians and many ordinary Hungarians have sought to distance themselves from her actions as the country continues to be criticised for its efforts to prevent refugees entering Europe.

More than 36,000 people have joined a Facebook group called the Petra László Shame Wall, where she has been condemned as a “disgrace”.

“Not all Hungarians are like Petra László,” a post said. “Please do not be angry at Hungary…the majority of Hungarians believe in tolerance and freedom!”

Administrators of the group claimed the middle-aged man carrying a toddler who was tripped up by Ms László was a Syrian football coach who had been imprisoned and tortured by Isis but managed to escape the country with his young son.

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