Today I attended a rally in Trafalgar Square with the title I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist. The idea is to protest the abuse by the police of anti-terror legislation. Specifically it is to protest the fact that police continue to harass individuals who are lawfully taking photographs in public spaces.
The Chief Constable, Head of ACPO Media Advisory Group, Andrew Trotter OBE QPM has written to ACPO Chief Constables stating: “Section 44 gives officers no specific powers in relation to photography and there is no provision in law for the confiscation of equipment or the destruction of images, either digital or on film.”
The rally was pretty low key. There seemed to be no centre or organising force, it was just a lot of photographers gathered together in one place taking photographs of each other. Now and then a little vortex would run through the crowd as something appeared to be happening and all cameras would turn to face the supposed centre of the disturbance. I myself was lucky enough to be at the centre of one such vortex as two police officers attempted to stop a girl with a bicycle. The rumour was that she had been cycling on the pavement and when the police officers attempted to hold her bike there were irritated cries from the assembled photographers. The police officers in question seemed, to me, to have faint smiles on their faces and I wonder whether they were merely toying with the crowd.
There were all sorts of photographers, the earnest and the joyful, the outraged and the tourist. There were all sorts of cameras, pocket digitals, 35 mm Nikormats, vast telephoto lenses, Leicas and strange twin lens contraptions. Sadly there were very few police.
The Socialist Workers were there of course (yawn). Aren’t, they everywhere? Also I was handed a leaflet banging on about the U.S. government being responsible for the 9/11.
More seriously there was a small demonstration against the current Iranian regime. Two women gave very emotional and fervent speeches begging for the support of the British people. I think that the Left in Britain and America understand the ignominious involvement of our countries in Iran and this leaves us loath to criticise the current Iranian regime. This is a mistake. While we, in the UK, are protesting that police are trying to stop us taking pictures Iranian are protesting that their government tortures and kills innocent people. We should support them. A good start to appreciating the dreadfulness of this regime would be to read Persepolis by Marjane Satrap.
And here’s a fantastic vid named Evidence by La La and the Boo Ya