Monday, 6 December 2010

Westfield: Police threaten arrest of anti capitalist protesters

The "Love Police Academy", a group of what seem to be anti capitalist protestors gathered outside the Sky stad at Westfield on Saturday, around 15 in number, and proceded to shout slogans about everything from student tuition fees to the woes of capitalism down from the first floor balcony onto parents and children in a play area below. Funny that anti-capitalism bit because as you'll see from the pics they were all greedily slurping Starbucks beverages, complete in branded cups, bought from the shop just behind Sky.

I have to say had I known the whole affair was going to be as insignificant I wouldnt have broken into a saturday to look at it but what did strike me as interesting was the reaction of the security staff. In their video calling for people to take part in the protest the group openly said that their aim was to attract the attention of security staff and even police officers. They failed. The security, clearly learning from their impromptu appearance on the BBC as a result of getting heavy with the librarians some weeks before, stood back and let them do whatever they wanted.

The result was a group of people looking increasingly daft as their hoped-for confrontation failed to materialise and they started to run out of slogans.

But then, just as they were looking quite bored, the police did eventually intervene and threatened to arrest them if they didn't leave. They left. Watch the sorry episode below.

By contrast, later that afternoon I came across a real-life protest with people bringing TopShop in Oxford Street to a halt and being surrounded by police. Their beef with owner Sir Philip Green is that he is a tax-dodger and yet is curently advising this government on economic issues. Now that's a genuine cause for protest. Just as I was leaving people started crossing police lines and joining the singing students, who unlike their Starbucks drinking wannabes in the warmth of Westfield, were sitting on a pavement on a cold rainy street.

1 comment:

  1. I, for one, sympathise with the protesters. I don't know how often I was moved on by security as I photographed for a project in the centre, proving how these pathetic replacements for public space are anything but. So then I thought, well, a couple of actions shots of being moved on might be amusing - like some war photographer getting in a last shot as government troops catch him recording their crimes. Suddenly, though, they all vanished from sight, and I had to go home empty handed.