Mass photo-shoot in Trafalgar Square this Saturday

The UK activist group "I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist!" is planning a mass photo-shooting this Saturday in Trafalgar Square, London: "Following a series of high profile detentions under s44 of the terrorism act including 7 armed police detaining an award winning architectural photographer in the City of London, the arrest of a press photographer covering campaigning santas at City Airport and the stop and search of a BBC photographer at St Pauls Cathedral and many others. PHNAT feels now is the time for a mass turnout of Photographers, professional and amateur to defend our rights and stop the abuse of the terror laws."

Mass Gathering in defence of street photography


  1. On some level, I’m kind of hoping they further restrict photographer rights, just enough so that activist group goes militant.

    It’s a very stupid level.

  2. I totally support this endeavor, but I am fearful for the well-being of the participants. (And their gear that likely costs more than my home)

  3. I for one, hope they succeed in their cause. Arresting or hassling someone just because they are taking a photo in a public space is bullshit and should not be allowed to happen. Hopefully it won’t devolve into violence like most protests here in the states.

    1. I was just in London a couple of weeks ago (from Canada), and when I was at Trafalgar Square, local security hassled me about taking pictures with a Tripod. Strange!

  4. Honestly, it seems to me that the British government has gotten totally out of control. I’m a theatre actor, and I was thinking of pursuing my career in London, but every day there is another report of someone getting arrested or hassled based on some sort of trumped up thought crime. For all the mess our U.S. government is in these days, at least we still has a reasonable guarantee of free speech and expression.

  5. I am planning a visit to London this May. Is there a list available of objects, locations, people etc that I will not be permitted to photograph? Or should I leave my camera at home?

    1. Please be sure to ask a police officer to smash your head with a brick before you leave. Don’t want to be remembering anything that could be used to plot a terror act.

    2. I’d suggest leaving your body at home until the British government wakes up. Not a slam on you, just a call for people to stop visiting.

    3. Don’t use flash photography in underground stations (that’s a rule).

      Other than that, photograph whatever you want. Well over 99% of tourists and residents have no problem, well over 99% of the time.

      (Since reading about all this on BB, I’ve taken to photographing every police constable, police car, police station etc that I’ve walked past while holding my camera. I’m disappointed that no one has tried to stop me. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, and it’s not right when it does, but it’s not the daily occurrence reading BB might suggest.)

      1. “but it’s not the daily occurrence reading BB might suggest.”

        You’re quite, quite wrong. Home office figures show hundreds of Section 44 stop and search incidents per day.

        In April, May, June 2009, just 400/day. A welcome drop form the 2008/9 levels of 700/day.


        Not everyone of these is a photographer of course but photography earns an undue focus of attention from the Police who systematically abuse this power.

  6. I have a feeling that the police will likely be on their best behavior, because they know that so many people will be on hand to record any confrontations. Might turn out to be somewhat anti-climactic… not that this fact should in any way diminish the protest, or the reasons behind it.
    good luck out there London!

  7. Wait, didn’t you English have a piece of paper called the Magna Carta that outlined your rights? Someone seems to have misplaced it haven’t they? Send word if you find it again. Luck.

  8. Maybe we can get these people to merge their civil disobedience with the homeopathic protesters. It’d be Zen-like – taking pictures of nothing.

  9. Perhaps treating everybody like crap will discourage foreigners from seeking to abuse our highly touted hospitality.


  10. There is no excuse for harassing photographers. If someone is behaving in a genuinely suspicious manner, police can stop and question them, whether or not they’re taking photographs. If someone is taking photographs but is otherwise not behaving in a suspicious fashion, stopping and questioning them is not reasonable, because taking photographs is not in and of itself a suspicious activity.

    I propose that police officers who make a habit of harassing photographers should be required to take a full-scale Intro to Photography course. It might not make photographers of them, but it would give them some idea of the range of things photographers take pictures of.

  11. We have that yearly pot day here in town, head to the Legislature and smoke up for the afternoon, the cops are there but do nothing, they know it’s a peaceful protest and I’ve seen them handing out snacks along with reading materials about drug use. Everyone generally has a good time. But if I went some other day and lit a blunt on the steps there, it would not be so nice for me.

    Safety in numbers, and the media will be watching. There’s still gonna be trouble though.

  12. You may take picture after picture and stroll away unscathed, but…

    …if only 1% of visitors are hassled, that still means that out of 30,000,000 visitors or so in a year, 300,000 will learn to hate the great city.
    And that’s just tourists. And just Central London.

    Applause, applause, for the glorious London life.

  13. For any trainee MI5 agents and other jobsworths reading this, you can practice your ‘profile recognition’ excises of this terrorist rendezvous here:

    err.. must go now! Just spotted a very suspicious looking caucasian with a packet of Gauloises (dead give away that). OMG ! How brazen can they get? This one even has a bag with the word ‘Canon’ printed on it!!!

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