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I'm a photographer, not a terrorist.

Mary said this yesterday on the subject of the raising of the terror threat level from substantial to severe.

And what are we, the British public, to do? On the one hand we are told the threat is “severe” and we must be “vigilant”, yet on the other hand we are not allowed to name the source of the threat and the object of our vigilance.
One of the things it allows our government of control freaks to do, when they should be tackling the menace not cosying up to its hinterland, is further curtail our freedom to go about the most innocent of business, one of which is photography.
As you may have noticed photography is a family hobby. I have only had trouble once when out taking photographs and that was not from anyone in a position of authority. The landlady of what I later found out was a very rough pub mistook me for a Neighbourhood Watch vigilante plotting a challenge to her licence.
Others of my acquaintance have had a different experience.
Which is why yesterday’s event in Trafalgar Square, called I’m a Photographer Not a Terrorist was so important. Kate Day the Telegraph’s Communities Editor attended and her blog is here and here.
My husband was also there and his account follows.
I heard about the event (the organisers were not allowed to call it a demonstration) on a social networking site so I decided that I would go to lend my support and to try out a new camera. (Canon G11)
I don’t know the exact number of people who went but it was very well attended. I’ve never seen so many camera’s before in my life.
The police kept a low profile but those who did venture into the square had their pictures taken ‘rather a lot’
There’s a policeman in there somewhere – honest
There were no speeches but plenty of talk about experiences some people had experienced like the lady who was arrested for taking a picture of Saint Paul’s Cathedral in the sunset. To you or me it was a holiday picture but the police have a tendency to regard an innocent picture of a famous building or landmark as a ‘Hostile Reconnaissance’. Some people got dressed up for the occasion.
Guy Faulks – A name to make Parliament quake?
The best vantage point for taking photos was the steps of the National Gallery. The security guards soon came out to clear the steps; however there were two sets of steps and they were outnumbered
A security guard hard at work.
All in all the day went very well. It was well attended and we certainly made our point – “I’m a photographer not a terrorist”.
I will leave the last word to this supporter

Photographs NER January 2010

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