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A friend who is a photographer in London writes in to share some observations on shooting the protests, and has something very interesting to say about the violence that broke out on Wednesday night.
Since he needs to maintain a good working relationship with the police, he asked not to be named, but I’d like to share some of what he, and another photographer he was with for part of Wednesday observed while working.
He writes that it appeared to at least these two photographers that most of the much-photographed violence on Wednesday evening was caused by people who looked like “agent provocateurs,” who “were going from police line to police line baiting the police — and they were the ones who instigated the push against police lines that kicked off the evening violence.” This photographer adds that “There was another guy baiting the police and whipping up the crowd to rush the police, he got a hundred or so protesters to follow him and then sneaked off as they reached police lines.” He also writes that the second photographer, who is a reliable reporter, “saw a bunch of protesters trying to stop a guy in black throwing bottles at the police, the protesters had an argument him and then accused him of being a policeman, whereupon he ran to the police cordon, showed some I.D. and was let through!”
Finally, my friend says: “I should point out that the only reason that we were able to spot these guys so easily was because the protest at that point was so peaceful, they really stuck out, so we followed them from one police line to another as they tried to start trouble.”