Photographers attack ‘insane’ security rules

May 3, 2011

Dozens of photographers today gathered outside City Hall in London to protest about what they see as the overzealous behaviour of private security guards.

Around 40 photographers gathered outside the offices of London Mayor Boris Johnson to protest that private security guards prevent them taking pictures in privately owned ‘public spaces’.

Organised by the I’m a Photographer, Not a Terrorist! campaign group, the event took place at 12.30pm and lasted about 30 minutes.

Among the protesters, who were urged to bring along tripods, was photographer Peter Marshall who described a ?paranoia about terrorism? among security officials.

Marshall, who said he was once stopped at Canary Wharf, added: ?There is an increasing privatisation of public spaces which we have to fight against.?


Brazilian photographer Andre Stefano spoke of how he was stopped by three security officials while taking pictures near Tower Bridge for an advertising commission last year.

Grant Smith, one of the organisers, pointed out that signs near City Hall warn the public against skateboarding or cycling, but there is no such warning about photography in an area renowned as a ‘tourist destination’.


Photo rights campaigner Mark Singleton said the protest gave him the chance to get his tripod out without attracting the attention of police or security staff.

Branding the behaviour of officials ?insane? he told us: ?Twenty-nine years ago today I was on the flight deck of HMS Hermes, outside the Falkland Islands.

?I was allowed then to walk around with a camera.

‘In London, in my home town, I cannot walk around with a camera? It really is bureaucracy and political madness gone to extremes.’

Organisers then delivered a letter, addressed to Boris Johnson, explaining the reasons behind the protest.

The letter was delivered to staff at the City Hall reception desk.

ProtestOrganisers display their own sign outside City Hall this lunchtime

All pictures: Chris Cheesman

Below, the letter addressed to London Mayor Boris Johnson

Letter to Boris Johnson

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