US Torture protest

The trouble with protesting outside the new US Embassy in London is that almost nobody sees the protest. The area around is still something of a building site, and even when the tall blocks of flats around are completed and sold, relatively few of them will be inhabited, with many going as investments to overseas investors, few if any of whom will actually ever live there and many will never even visit.

The path around the embassy leads nowhere; only those going to the embassy on business will use it, and the protest I was going to photograph was timed for after the embassy was closed. The only people who came to see what was happening were the police and security on duty, as well as one embassy employee in a suit who came briefly and took a few photographs.

So my photographs – and those taken by some of the protesters – are the only public face of the protest, and while mine have appeared on Facebook and on my own web site, as well as on the site of the agency I sent them to, they have not yet been sold for any use. Guantanamo is no longer considered news by the media, and there are no longer any detainees with a UK connection that might make them so for the UK press.

It would be slightly more public to hold this and other protests on the main road in front of the embassy, but it is set back well from the road, and some of the connection would be lost. But at least the protest would be seen by those going along the road, which at the rush hour does have a number of pedestrians, cyclists, cars, buses and other vehicles passing – rather busier in total than the old venue in Grosvenor Square. Or perhaps there is somewhere ele in London sufficiently connected with the US as to be a suitable site for protest?

So while the protesters put in time to make their way to this rather out of the way place, and I worked hard to exploit the visual possibilities of the situation – in some ways rather more exciting than Grosvenor Square, if nobody actually sees the protest itself or the photographs, our time and effort is rather wasted. Torture continues at Guantanamo and I fear this and similar protests will have little effect in stopping it.

You can see more pictures from the protest at Torture protest at US Embassy and please feel free to share the pictures and this post. The images (except for the top one, which I didn’t send as it wasn’t a part of the protest) are available for editorial use from Alamy though almost impossible to find through their rather opaque search system.


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