Vedanta – My Back Was Turned

Vedanta, the whole world is watching you‘ said one of the posters at the protest outside their AGM

© 2012, Peter Marshall

but my own back was turned at the critical moment when protesters threw fake blood over another protesters covered with a white sheet on the steps leading to the AGM, and by the time I realised something was happening and had run the 20 yards or so to the scene those who had spilt it were fleeing stage left and stage right. They included two men dressed in suits who I assumed were Vedanta security men.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

Even with the 16-35mm I couldn’t include all of the scene, and by the time I’d really realised what was happening it was over.  I was just a little annoyed that I hadn’t been warned something was about to take place.

I’d been busy photographing Bianca Jagger who was one of the protesters who have bought shares in the mining company so that they can attend the AGM and ask questions about the activities of this company ‘owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal, backed by the UK government but opposed by groups in India, Goa, Liberia, Namibia, South Africa and Ireland, Zambia and Sri Lanka for the environmental damage, pollution and human rights abuses caused by its mining of bauxite and other minerals.’

© 2012, Peter Marshall

Wearing her white suit she had to pick her way very cautiously over the Kensington Gore on the steps; it is supposed to be non-staining, but I wouldn’t entirely rely on it.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

What was needed was a hose to wash the theatrical blood away, but instead they sent out an inappropriately equipped black woman cleaner. I felt sorry for her as she tried to deal with the mess, supervised by a young woman in a smart black dress and heels in what seemed like a colonial parody.

The charges against Vedanta are horrendous and you can read more about them on My London Diary in Vedanta AGM Protest, and of course on web sites such as Foil Vedanta, where you can read a more accurate account, complete with pictures of the bloody incident.

© 2012, Peter Marshall

But had the organisers thought to make sure the couple of press photographers present were watching when the event was going to happen, it would have got them rather more publicity.

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My London Diary : Buildings of London : River Lea/Lee Valley : London’s Industrial Heritage

All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated are by Peter Marshall and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.

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