The Olympics

The Olympics


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Friday, 30 May 2008

The Private Militia

Whilst the media and journalists get themselves into a lather over alleged reporting restrictions in China, in the run up to the 2008 games, they may care to take a look at what is happening in the UK as we prepare for the 2012 games.

Organisers of the 2012 Olympics being accused of running "private militia", in their desire to provide security for the 2012 games and to protect the construction site.

It seems that a couple of amateur photographers were targeted by heavy-handed security guards at the stadium building site in East London, this also happened a year ago when photo enthusiast Dr Patrick Green clashed with two security guards at the site.

Louis Berk and Steve Kessel claim that they clashed with four security personnel while on a 'public pavement' outside the construction area in early May.

Guards were under the impression that they had been taking pictures of the construction site through a hole in the fence.

Mr Berk was quoted in Amateur Photographer:

"The interrogation then turned to the content of our cameras,' said Louis, who lives in north London.

The leader of the pack told us we were not allowed to photograph security staff and demanded we show him the pictures. Neither I nor my friend had taken any pictures – in fact, my friend was using a film camera so it would have been impossible to comply with this illegal request

In a letter to Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) chief executive David Higgins, Mr Berk accused the authority of operating the equivalent of a "private militia".

The ODA are investigating.

China has only recently started to open up, therefore there will still be issues wrt press freedom etc; Britain is one of the world's oldest democracies, there is no excuse for this kind of heavy handed behaviour.

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