The National Union of Journalists has condemned an alleged attack on two photographers outside the Climate Camp in Blackheath, South London, on Sunday.
The NUJ today claimed freelance photographers Jonathan Warren and Marc Valle were attacked while taking pictures of climate camp protesters arguing with Socialist Workers Party members.
Warren said: “As my colleague, Marc VallÃ©e, and I were leaving climate camp we found a group of people arguing around the SWP stall that was selling newspapers and leaflets outside the entrance to the camp.
“As we went in to take photographs the group arguing with the SWP quickly turned their attention to us, shouting loudly that we had not asked their permission before photographing them.
“They were immediately aggressive and threatening, I managed to calm the ones around me and walk away, however, one young man was persistently threatening towards Marc.
“He repeatedly threatened to grab Marc’s camera and delete the pictures himself or smash the camera.
“After a while we felt that the situation had calmed. Marc said that they should both shake hands and walk away and offered his hand. The man did not take it and as we turned to leave he tried to grab the camera off Marc’s shoulder.”
Warren said that when he attempted to intervene he was kicked in the stomach.
In an open letter to the Camp organisers, the photographers asked the man who remonstrated with them to come forward and apologise and for the camp organisers to condemn his actions.
When contacted by Press Gazette, a spokesman for the Climate Camp said: “We’re very sorry for any distress that was caused to anyone who was involved with the incidentâ€¦it’s something that happened outside of the Climate Camp and we weren’t in a position to try and deal with what happened.”
The spokesman said organisers had attempted to contact the journalists involved and would release a statement later today about the incident.
John Toner, NUJ Freelance Organiser, said: “Nothing justifies an assault, and we are incensed that both photographers suffered injuries in the line of duty.”