Photographer David Hoffman´s opinion on police violence

Hoffman told the EPUK:

“I have covered many incidents of public disorder over the last 30 years.
Police violence has become far more extreme. The weapons used by the
police have become far more dangerous although their own defensive
equipment has improved considerably and the weapons used against the
police have actually become somewhat less dangerous.

He added: “That shift in the balance of power should enable the police to use force in a more
considered and directed manner but that is the opposite of what we observe.”

Police officer tells photographers to “Go away”

 

Footage shows how photographers and other media members were asked to leave for thirty minutes on 2 April at the G20 protest, near the junction of Royal Exchange Passage and Cornhill.

 

The policeman told media members: “Go away for about half an hour and then come back.” Their motive was that it would “help resolve the situation.”

 

In a conference in February, the NUJ informed media members of their rights and were told to defend themselves when disrupted unfairly.

 

When asked to leave at the G20, photographers attempted to do so but were threatened with arrest.

 

“You either go away now or you will spend the rest of the afternoon in court. What do you want to do?” said a police officer.

 

“I´m not getting into a debate, I´m trying to be very nice”, he added.

 

“You’ve had your chance. This is section 14. If you don’t leave you will end up being arrested, OK. What do you want to do?”

 

Media editor of the Observer, James Robinson, said: “Journalists should be able to do their jobs without being interrupted. In cases when they are not able to, newspaper editors should be onto the police.”

 

 Some police officers claim that journalists are being biased. The following quote, taken from the Police Oracle and UK Police Online discussion forums may sound convincing: “The brave firearms officer who died has received FAR LESS coverage- the press (and I mean all of you) should be ASHAMED.”

 

But cordoning protesters, attacking them and ordering media members to leave are all good reasons for the press to be- quite simply- FED UP.

Hundreds of photographers get police in the frame

 

At the G20 protests  I watched how hundreds of professionals snapped away with no trouble at all, even though it was obvious to the police that they were in the frame.g20-protest-018

 

 

Could this be a sign of the police becoming more flexible?

 

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Veteran photographer David Hoffman targeted at G20 protests.

 David Hoffman put up with being pushed and treated disrespectfully at the G20 riots. When I interviewed him months ago, at the first protest at New Scotland Yard, he had said that there was “an atmosphere of fuzziness” and that the change in regulations was making everything “increasingly grey.”

 A few months later David Hoffman is featured in a short film by Ollie Wainright, showing how he is targeted by the police in the midst of the G20 riots.

To view the video go to: http://vimeo.com/3972898

Nothing will stop them

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A man at the G20 protest got a bit huffy when I asked him politely if he did photography professionally. “What do you think?” he replied, seemingly offended by my innocent query. “Do you think I would walk around with a camera this big if it was just a hobby?”

In a way he was right; most amateurs nowadays own a small digital camera. But the G20 protest was so crowded by big professional cameras that I thought I should make sure.

Photography is now overly popular, so doesn´t it seem ridiculous to impede us from what should be considered a democratic right?

 

 

G20 demo: Not too much trouble for photographers…this time!

 

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Apart from being caught up for hours at the demonstration (see previous article) photographers and others associated with the press seem to have carried out their jobs succesfully, without too much interference from the police.
 
However some were treated disrespectfully. Photographer Nicolas Hameon described how he was abused.
 
He said: “As usual, I had a lot of trouble. The police pushed me and I even got hit.”
 
He added: “I tried to defend myself but I continued being pushed. It does tend to happen when everybody gets a bit nervous.”
 
But it is not all bad news. Most photographers were able to do their job without too many distractions.

 

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James Symmington said: “I do it as a hobby and haven’t had any trouble so far.”
 
Ben Mitchell works for Al Jazeera English. He said: “We go wherever the news is, and of course this week is very busy.
 
He added: “It’s all been fine, we’ve had no trouble whatsoever.”
 

 

 

Citizens- including press photographers- trapped for hours in G20 protest

 Security measures at London´s G20 demonstrations kept hundreds trapped in the area for hours- including professional photographers and journalists.  

 Cordon of police prevents people from leaving the square.
Cordon of police prevents people from leaving the square.

 Gil Kennedy said: “I’m afraid the MET police have a bit of a bad reputation for this. These measures of keeping people trapped are useless. In fact, they are likely to make things inflammatory.”

A cordon of police blocked the four only possible ways out of the Bank of England area. Photographers and journalists attempted to make their way out by showing their press cards but were prevented from leaving the square.Many decided to make the most of their time while trapped; photographers uploaded their photographs on their laptops and others tried getting a few more shots.  

 

 

 

 

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Press members sit around waiting to be let out. On the right, photographer Andrew Gordon.

 Photographer Andrew Gordon, member of the BPPA (British Press Photographers´ Association) said: “I’ve had no trouble at all today, and luckily, I never have.” Today, however, he did have to put up with what everyone agreed to be an excessiveley long wait.

 From the point of view of photographers, these measures represent the injustice media workers face in not being able to carry out their jobs without interference. More importantly, this reflects an increasingly unfair and undemocratic society.