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Police Manhandle Press at Tibet Demonstration

C J McKeon | 06.04.2008 17:42 | Repression | London

The Metropolitan Police today used physical force against photographers during the Olympic Torch protest along Whitehall.

Today, at about one o’clock in the afternoon, a man vaulted the barrier that penned in the Free Tibet protestors in front of Downing Street. As expected, he was swiftly tackled by police officers and wrestled to the ground. What happened next may have seemed innocuous and may even have been missed by most of those present, but it is highly significant. A news crew approached the scene, TV camera in hand, to film the arrest, but it was not to be. A Metropolitan Police Officer grabbed the cameraman and manhandled him back, away from the arrested protestor while others prevented some individuals with cameras from taking photographs of the scene.

There was no reason for this rough treatment of the press, no call for it, and yet it happened. Here, in the United Kingdom, a nation that prides itself on being free and democratic, the police used physical force against journalists. It is the sort of thing that might happen in China.

Here we have, or are supposed to have, a free press, but this cannot happen if the police feel that they have the right to hinder reporters or restrict their access to stories, however, slight that hindrance, however small the story. Only with an unrestricted press can we hope to hold the government to account and the police should not have the power to take that away. No-one should. Clearly it is not only in China that the government wishes to control the media.

C J McKeon
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Sky ?

06.04.2008 17:53

I think this was Sky TV as it was mentioned on one report. The reporter said that the police mentioned they were "trying to protect the protesters privacy". The reporter then pointed out that the protester wanted the publicity as that was why they were doing it !!!


Free Press? Don't make me laugh!

06.04.2008 20:27

I've lost count of the number of times I've been issued with thinly veiled threats by the police for daring to point a camera at them, or even just in their general direction whilst at demonstrations.

This has been going on for years, and will continue to go on, because despite what the CORPORATE MEDIA (i.e. not a 'free press', but privately owned business concerns) would like us to believe, we do not live in a free country, we live in one of the most under surveillance countries on the planet, replete with plans for national identity cards using biometric technology, some of which is currently already in use at a school or passport office near you, Airports notwithstanding.

Welcome to the brave new world our Grandparents warned us about.

This is all the more reason to make sure that we all do our bit to ensure the truth of any situation, however grim or amazing comes to the attention of the wider world, because once we let the police (i.e. The State) censor us by whatever means, we will be officially living in a Police State, no different from China.

Why Dangle

Police Violence on the press !

06.04.2008 20:59

It appears that not only the flame has been imported from China, the repression and violence against freedom has come with it, one photographer was pushed violently in the throat and placed in a reverse headlock by one officer who was trying to stop him from photographing what was unnecessary police violence on a protester, he required treatment from paramedics for breathing difficulty's and a neck injury afterwards,
The protester was already on the floor restrained, but was getting a good old fashioned hiding for the sake of it, the press guys were allowed on the other side and had all been accredited to do so, the police were attempting to stop them photographing the violence.
Can I just add a thankyou to the protesters who picked up the lens worth £700 that was scattered as the police violence escalated as a bag was ripped from a photographers shoulder and thrown by the police and for returning it to its owner in good order, who ever you were, thankyou !!

Press TOG 99