On tonight’s 60 Minutes, Hayes describes how she and her team became the victims of a street-side brawl in Stockholm.
“It was Sweden. I wasn’t expecting hairy, but I think it all comes back to tensions and issues between migrants, immigrants and refugees and just the general friction that is occurring around the world,” she says on 60 Minutes.
“It was pretty confronting, because I just wasn’t expecting it.”
As soon as the 60 Minutes team arrived in the immigrant suburb of Rinkebury, tensions were obvious. Passersby noticed the camera and video equipment, leaned into the car and told the reporters to move on.
When they remained, a local deliberately ran over the foot of a 60 Minutes cameraman with his car.
Police were called, and the situation seemed to diffuse — but then, a group of men in masks returned.
“I think the crowd that were in the car must have returned with masks on, and then it turned fairly ugly,” Hayes says about the frightening incident.
“It came from nowhere and it escalated very quickly.”
Footage of the attack shows the crew being surrounded by masked men, who quickly become violent and start throwing punches.
But Hayes, with her extensive experience dealing with conflict, stepped in to help. “Hey, hey, hey,” she can be seen saying to the attackers.
“I felt confident they couldn’t bring themselves to hit a woman, so I could potentially just slow things up a bit so we could get out,” Hayes reflects.
“I thought I could stall them because I was a female, I felt I could get in the middle — but I also knew I could only do that for a minute.”
Her quick thinking bought the group valuable time, and they were able to leave the scene without hassle.
Despite the shock of the attack, Hayes refuses to let the incident shape her perspective on immigrants and asylum seekers.
“It’s just part and parcel of the difficult refugee scenario,” she says of escalated tensions in areas highly populated by refugees.
“It’s a shame because I think 99 per cent of people who are fleeing are not necessarily a threat and not necessarily poorly behaved.”