Rioters target photographers

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The Independent Online
Britain's photographers and cameramen are being targeted for violent attacks in demonstrations by battle-hardened revolutionaries who want to stop their pictures appearing in the press and on TV.

A detailed leaflet published by an anarchist group called the Hungry Brigade calls for anti-media flying squads to disable cameras.

The leaflet, entitled What do we want? Some thoughts on violence on demos, focuses on the riot that followed the 12 April Trafalgar Square Social Justice rally for sacked Liverpool dockers which had been organised with anti-roads group Reclaim the Streets.

Street-fighting in and around Whitehall led to photographers saying they had been injured - by activists and police. Officers claimed that the event was hijacked by hardliners among Britain's direct-action movement, which has grown in popularity through campaigns against the Newbury bypass and Manchester airport extension.

The leaflet says: "Don't say cheese. Press and TV cameras were attacked on 12 April, but this needs to be stepped up.

"Small groups of us could decide to concentrate on a given situation. Or we'll find ourselves on the front of the Sun.

"Good shots could try and take out police cameras. Powerful catapults might be useful."

"Paintbombs" should also be used against cameras, it adds.

The leaflet has been widely circulated among direct-action activists, appearing in mail-outs of undergound magazines such as Schnews and Contraflow.

It contains advice on setting up snatch squads to halt police arrests amd the need for activists to mask themselves to prevent identification.

It also addresses a debate within the direct-action movement between "fluffy" and "spiky" positions on whether violence promotes their environmental, political and social goals.

The authors claim to be "revolutionaries, with experience in many groups and struggles, going back 10-15 years or more," and so are of the spiky tendency.

"Sad to see the idiots of 12 April standing in front of the lines of tooled-up riot cops shouting, 'No, no, don't throw things. Chill out. We're here to party," their critique says.