Staff from What Digital Camera were among those who turned out in Trafalgar Square earlier today to protest about the police's use of anti-terrorism laws to harass photographers taking pictures in public places.

Over two thousand amateur and professional photographers braved the cold to attend the ‘Mass Photo Gathering’ organised by the pressure group ‘Photographer Not a Terrorist .org’. TV and news crews turned out in force to cover the event, which was publicised mainly through Twitter and Facebook, and on photography websites including this one and AmateurPhotographer.co.uk.

WDC Editor Nigel Atherton and Deputy Editor Mat Gallagher attended the event, which was a mild-mannered affair, attended by an eclectic mix of the young and old alike, many of whom had been stopped by police or knew others who had.

‘This was an impressive show of unity by the photographic community to express our anger at the way the police have been using Section 44 of the Anti-Terrorism bill to persecute photographers for the last two or three years,’ says Nige Atherton. ‘Its quite right and proper that the police should keep a look-out for suspicious behaviour in the current climate, but unfortunately many police officers and PCSOs have decided that photography is a suspicious activity and anyone seen in public with a serious camera should be treated as though they are up to no good. This is still a free country, and there is no law against photography in public. It’s about time the Police – along with PCSOs, security personnel, council officials and other people in authority – were reminded of this fact.’

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Visit:  http://photographernotaterrorist.org/

WDC Dep Ed Mat Gallagher in Trafalgar Square

WDC Deputy Editor Mat Gallagher at the gathering in Trafalgar Square

 

 

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  • Dave Roberts

    Honest police officers don’t have a problem with photographers, so when you come across cops who have an issue with you because you are a photographer, you should be very careful. I’ve found keeping a dictaphone in my pocket very useful, you should see how fast the threats to arrest or confiscate kit evaporate when I turn it on then pop it in my top pocket. As I’m unlikely to be tasked to take images in London, this specific issue is not likely to effect me directly, but I wish everyone involved the best of luck and hope this protest becomes a regular pilgrimage. In a way it demonstrates to the world that democracy – regardless of how good it is – it does have its failings.

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  • alexd903

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  • Pete Brown

    I’ve just read this article. In fact, I’ve read it more than once and am completely shocked. I am a Canadian of British parents. My father and many others who fought in WWII must be turning in their graves at this assault on freedom.

  • Michael Sowden

    I would like to think that it might do some good and bring common sense to prevail but I doubt it. Any way the police now know that we mean business.

  • Nat Twelves

    Well done, for standing up for common sense! As if most real terrorists would go around with a huge D-SLR checking out a future sites! They can probably get all the necessary information from the internet, google earth, or some of the very discrete smaller/mobile cameras out there