Six journalists were arrested and slapped with felony rioting charges on inauguration day in Washington, D.C., and groups that represent the media are crying foul.

According to The Guardian,  six members of the media ranging from reporters and a photographer to a videographer and a producer were detained with more than 200 other people. The riots on the day President Donald Trump was sworn in left a burned-out limo, smashed windows in shops, and fires in trash cans.

At times, police used pepper spray and concussion grenades to disperse the rowdy crowds.

The journalists arrested, according to The Guardian, were Evan Engel (Vocativ), Alexander Rubinstein (RT America), Jack Keller (documentary producer), Matthew Hopard (freelance videographer), Shay Horse (photographer and activist) and Aaron Cantu (freelance journalist and activist).


“These felony charges are bizarre and essentially unheard of when it comes to journalists here in America who were simply doing their job,” Suzanne Nossel, the executive director of Pen America, told The New York Times.

“They weren’t even in the wrong place at the wrong time. They were in the right place.”

Carlos Lauria of the Committee to Protect Journalists told the Times the charges are “completely inappropriate and excessive.”

“Our concern is that these arrests could send a chilling message to journalists that cover future protests,” Lauria said.

The arrests of media members renew the argument that Trump’s administration will crack down on press freedom.

Trump was critical of certain members of the media and certain news organizations during his presidential campaign, and he has continued to criticize them since winning the November election.