Europe

Migrant crisis: Hungarian camerawoman apologises for kicking migrants

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Media captionMs Laszlo said she 'panicked' while filming

A Hungarian journalist sacked for kicking and tripping migrants near the Serbian border has apologised and insisted she is not a "heartless, racist, child-kicking camerawoman".

Petra Laszlo said in a letter to the Magyar Nemzet newspaper (in Hungarian) that "something snapped" in her as migrants broke through a police cordon.

She said that she reacted out of panic and felt she had to "defend herself".

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

Ms Laszlo said: "I do not deserve the political witch-hunts against me, nor the smears or the death threats.

"I'm just a woman, and now an unemployed mother of small children, who made a bad decision in a situation of panic. I am truly sorry," she said.

The footage of Ms Laszlo kicking people and tripping them up, including a man carrying a small child, sparked outrage when it surfaced earlier this week.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Ms Laszlo was filmed tripping a man carrying a small boy
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption She said in her letter that she made a "bad decision in a moment of panic"

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She was sacked by Hungary's N1TV station, which is affiliated to the far-right Jobbik party.

The station said in a statement that she had shown "unacceptable behaviour".

Hungary has become a key transit point for migrants on the journey towards Western Europe, with more than 150,000 people arriving this year.

Hungary's leaders have been criticised for what has been perceived as a harsher stance than other European states towards migrants.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban has warned of Hungary being "overrun" with refugees who threatened to undermine Europe's "Christian roots".