Was it wrong that I tried to avoid getting kettled during Occupy London?

I like over 3,000 others attended the Occupy London Stock Exchange this past Saturday, 15th of October.  Now covering protests are nothing new to this photojournalist, but what is new is the Met Police use of ‘kettling‘.  Back in the states, at least the part of the states that I worked in, I never encountered being kettled.  I have to say that once the police started to kettle protesters this Saturday, it kinda freaked me out a bit.  I’ve heard stories from people who have been kettled for over 8 hours!  Now, I can’t handle that, and I tried my best to not let myself get kettled.

I was out with my wife and I kept emailing her every movement the cops made.  In true fashion, she didn’t care, she was always in the thick of things.  She didn’t think twice about jumping in, and only later did she tell me that she wouldn’t have known what to do if the cops didn’t let her leave the kettle.

Police kettle Occupy London protesters.

I’m not really sure why the idea of being kettled freaked me out so much.  Could it be that in my old age, I’ve learned to work smarter?  I always tried to follow the ‘A photographer can’t do his/her work from the backseat of a police car’ mentality. Or have I lost some of my edge due to being behind a desk for the past 4 years? Or am I worried that police could use this against me and revoke my visa?  Whatever the reason, I was very cautious.  Maybe too cautious.  I felt that my worries may have hampered my shooting a bit.  I reacted to things if they happened near me, but I didn’t throw myself into the fire as I normally would have.


A protester is removed by police as he attempts to stop a police vehicle from moving during Occupy London this past Saturday.

I was able to catch this protester getting ‘arrested'(not sure if he was arrested or not).  Not a bad pic in my humble opinion.

Not everyone was as worried as I was about getting kettled.  Tourists took time out of their sightseeing to stop and pose for photos.

So my question to all the photogs and journalists out there who have more experience with kettling is:

Was I worried for nothing?

Here are a few more photos from Saturday:

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