Black Bloc Occupiers Turn Violent Against Photographers

On May 2nd, news started coming in that the previous day’s MayDay Occupy protests in New York had turned violent towards photographers. At first, people viewed the assaults as unplanned, isolated incidents; but since the attacks took place, a piece on Anarchist News has been released to set the record straight: photographers, apparently, are the enemy.

To our enemies: if we won’t hesitate to directly confront hundreds of cops and to destroy property, what makes you think we hold the lens of your camera to be sacred? You want to preserve your four thousand dollar camera to watch us break everything else? We are not doing this for you, and this is not a game. You clearly do not understand that there is no exception. We feel nothing but contempt for you cowardly spectators.

You’d better watch your necks next time.


the “did you know that a photographer’s camera could pay your rent?” collective

It seems the world just got a little more dangerous for photojournalists covering the Occupy movement.

NYC FTP: Police & Press (via duckrabbit)

Image credit: Black block stretches by Simon Oosterman

  • casinonelson

    I was at Occupy Oakland on May Day photos can be seen here  All shot with the Fuji X Pro 1 35mm lens. I didnt really feel threatened by the Anarchists.  But I could see how some idiot photographer could get in the way and have his or her equipment smashed if not by the anarchists by the Oakland PD.  No one is safe and you know that and can feel that in the air when you are down there.

    We live in a police state.

  • Robin

    Who will benefit most from this story.  The NYPD does not like being caught on film.

  • 9inchnail

    Spreading your message won’t do you any good if the feds use your picture to run some face recognition and blacklist you.

  • t

    Agent provocateurs. Who benefits from blackout? The protesters who are trying to get everyone’s attention, or the police state that is trying to silence them. Please! 

  • Patrick Bateman

    Having a JOB will also pay your rent

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  • Mazrac

    I say lets not photograph them let the cops just beat them up without witneses…

  • Truthiocity

    Agent provocateurs?  Bitch Please!

    In order for an enemy to insinuate an agent provocateur, you have to first have a enemy!

    The OWS aren’t protesting anything specific and never have. The real world benifit of that is that, aside from attracting as wide a group as possible, it prevents anyone specific company, organization or governmental body being threatened enough by the OWS to spend money on PR companies to insinuate agent provocateurs.

    The OWS has no actual enemy. People might think they are annoying but nobody is directly threatened by them.

    And they aren’t protesting against any specific governmental body or policy – so the police aren’t motivated to do it either.

    They said they were protesting “corporations are people” but that is bull. I went down there and one specific small group was churning out protest signs about every issue under the sun.

    The same exact thing happened in Israel (it had nothing to do with the palestine issue). It was run by an American political media relations consultant. The point was not to achieve anything but to create an air of societal tension, out of which an “as yet unnamed” leader would emerge.

  • Truthiocity

    These anarchists or whatnot really just want to control their image. The whole point of protests is to create moments that can be captured in media and packaged to the world for propoganda purposes.

    That’s the purpose of all protests.

    The problem so far with these is that the OWS hasn’t had much control over even their own media.

    They release very tighly edited vids of cops being rough with protestors on youtube but people keep finding the looser edited vids or other vids of the same events showing how the OWS protestors use strategies designed to provoke the use of force by police – so as to capture the few seconds of responce.

    The other weakness of this strategy is that, as I said above, the OWS aren’t protesting anything specific. So the police aren’t using force to protect ANY actual standard quo or specific moneyed interests.

  • Truthiocity

    I myself was mildly intimidated before I had formulated any opinion whatsoever about OWS. I went down to the original to see what was going on and some hulking dude came over and stood right next to me for no reason for a few minutes. His demeanor could never be described as open and engaging.

  • Truthiocity

    The point is they want to control how they are portrayed. They only want trusted members of the group capturing media to present to the world. 

    They haven’t been very good at that so far.

  • Truthiocity

     Thanks for the insight. Could you elaborate why?

  • Truthiocity

    They do want their event covered but only by photographers who are a part of the movement. This is not about preventing coverage, but of controlling how they are depicted.

    They want to show the police use of violence but don’t want to show that they use strategies designed to provoke that responce.

  • Apogee

    Black Bloc are sent by someone to make protesting look violent so every day mums and dads don’t go down there even though they might believe in the cause.  The press love to focus on the violence, it puts a lot of people off going down to voice their opinions or support a cause.  It’s very clever social engineering!  Or they are just a few idiots that wreck it for everyone.

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  • Marja

    These Black Bloc folks are not spokesmen for Occupy movements.  They’re just a fringe group who has decided to go and start trouble.

    A bit more accurate, Occupy is in itself leaderless, and has little more than “here’s where we’ll be, show up if you like.”  So it’s everyone from young people; older folks who have lost their jobs, homes or 401(k)s; to members of various unions.  Once there, people fall into roles like “camera guy” or “signmaker guy.”

    It’s not about wanting government to “give me free stuff.”  It’s anger that the banks got bailed out with no strings attached; and once they bounced back, they and Wall Street continued the awful policies that tanked our economy.  Nobody was ever held accountable for the collapse.

    That tanked economy took away the plan that every kid in college was told their whole lives to follow: Get a loan, go to college, get a degree, get a job, pay back loan.  Now the good jobs they were told would be there if they do their part are gone.  You can’t pay back a 5 or 6-figure loan on minimum wage.

    To put it another way: Society always tells kids “You better study so you can get into a good college.  You don’t want to spend your life broke and flipping burgers!”  Now society says “So, you’re too good to flip burgers?”

  • Marja

    This gal gets it.

    I look at it like a small town.  If one guy shoplifts a turkey* from the supermarket, people wouldn’t say “I don’t like Small Town.  Everyone there is a thief.”  Same with Occupy. 

    Except in this case, I think whomever this Black Bloc person or group is only going there TO start trouble; why would an anarchist want bankers brought to justice?

    * Yeah, I said a turkey.  He’s very good at his “profession” okay?  Work with me, here!  LOL.

  • Marja

    These guys don’t represent Occupy, they’re just a group that want to cause trouble.

    Regular folks who make up Occupy movements WELCOME press coverage.  They encourage people in the movement to always have a camera rolling in case something happens.  “Happens” can mean anything from a moving speech to police brutality to rotten kids smashing in windows.

  • Marja

    You can’t pay your rent is $600/month, if you owe $20,000+ on student loans, and the only job available pays minimum wage.

  • David

     Agent provocateurs that don’t want evidence.

  • Diehippy

    Perhaps ‘anarchist’ should be changed to ‘fascist’

  • Mark

    How tough are you going to act in front of a cop who smashes your camera?

  • perlhaqr

     Hard to say “oh, well, they aren’t with us” when using the slogan “we are the 99%”.  It can’t go both ways.

  • PWL

    Amazing. They say they’re anarchists, but they act like fascists. Imagine what kind of world we would have if these folks were in charge. Think “1984.” I’ll take “tyranny” then, thank you.

  • NS

    They want coverage by those who are influential of public opinion

    Do they want coverage by those who’s just there to get that “unusual” moments for their portfolio or getting the most Likes after uploading it to their Facebook profile ? Those whose audience would be more interested in saying “great picture”, “nice moment”, “wonderful composition”, “what gear do you take this with ?” rather than showing interest to what’s pictured in the picture ?

    Photographers could still keep a safe distance. It’s not like they will shoot bullets to someone standing by the side.

  • Mickey

    “A responsible photographer wouldn’t be in the middle of a group of protester’s space claiming to be observing and reporting…” this is one of the dumbest things on this thread. ARE YOU KIDDING?? There is no public space that is off limits during a street protest. If the black bloc wants to destroy property, they are not stupid enough to think that they get to dictate who gets to watch, make pictures, and render them accurately.

  • Almond

    Thats what a CCW is for. Might a suggest a S&W .357 7-shot revolver? 

  • Andrew L.

    It’s pretty funny, how some people could be so closed minded and silly.  Without the independent photographers who like to cover their events, they WILL be forgotten, and no one will care what the pilferers did while they were at the summit, 20 years from now.  

  • Andrew L.

    Are you actually sure about that?  They seem incredibly crazy, tbh.

  • Anonymous

    actually the dont like media because they dont want their faces everywhere if they comming crime