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Journalists must stay vigilant in Manchester on Saturday

18 May 2018

The far-right Football Lads Alliance has organised a march in Manchester city centre on Saturday 19 May. The NUJ is encouraging members working at the event to remain vigilant.

The union’s warning is in response to attacks on journalists during the far-right "Day for Freedom" rally in Whitehall on Sunday 6 May when one journalist was punched in the head, another was assaulted, and others were threatened by protesters. There were also attempts to stop journalists from filming and taking photographs.

The union unreservedly condemns the far-right threats and attacks on media workers who are simply doing their jobs.

The NUJ London photographers' branch has put together safety tips which members might find helpful:

  • consider taking protective gear, hard hat and a small first-aid kit;
  • make sure you travel safely, you may want to avoid public transport;
  • work alongside colleagues where possible and watch each other's backs;
  • have the NUJ legal number handy.

The NUJ's and Thompson solicitors' emergency phone numbers:

Thompsons operate a 24-hour EMERGENCY number for work-related criminal matters -
08005877530. If you are using a mobile then call: 8005877530.

Here are some more tips and advice:

  • always carry your press card in an accessible place and use it to identify yourself;
  • take a map so you can check alternative routes and exit points;
  • leave yourself time to drive along the route to check for places for good pictures, trouble spots, level of policing and exit routes;
  • if you are parking a car, think carefully where you leave it – you may need to get out in a hurry;
  • if you park too close to the unrest your car could be damaged or blocked if there is trouble;
  • if you are a freelance on commission, are you insured by the media organisation?
  • wear strong boots or shoes and strong, tight-fitting clothing which allows you to move about freely;
  • shin guards, kneepads, body armour, helmet - all or some may be worth thinking about;
  • always take the weather into account and dress accordingly;
  • carry the minimum amount of equipment so you can move quickly if you need to;
  • check you have enough film or electronic memory;
  • let someone know that you are covering the unrest and tell them what time you are leaving and at what time to expect you back;
  • make sure you appear distinct from the protesters and the police at all times;
  • always work in such a way that if something happens you can extricate yourself;
  • keep an eye on fellow journalists in case they need help.

London Photographers' branch tip sheets -

•    Public order tip sheet: Covering riot and public order
•    Women’s Safety at Work tip sheet: Women's safety at work

Tags: , far right, journalist safety, football, manchester, march, protest