Thursday, September 27, 2007

London news round-up

NUJ photographer challenges police
SOLICITORS Hickman and Rose have served papers on Sir Ian Blair, the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police for “battery” (assault) and breaches of the Human Rights Act, relating to freedom of expression and assembly, on behalf of the photojournalist and NUJ member Marc Vallée. Vallée, who is also a member of the International Federation of Journalists and the British Press Photographers’ Association, was taking photographs of the “Sack Parliament” demonstration protest in Parliament Square on 9th October 2006.
He received injuries further to action by Metropolitan Police officers, which resulted in an ambulance attending to give urgent attention and then treatment at St Thomas’ hospital.
The Metropolitan Police have yet to apologise for or offer any explanation of the actions taken by officers.
Chez Cotton of Hickman and Rose said: “This is a significant case because freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy and safeguards afforded to the press are particularly important.
“Mr Vallée was lawfully present to photograph a political protest outside parliament, yet received injuries at the hands of Metropolitan police officers.
“In these circumstances it is hoped that the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police will swiftly confirm that neither he nor his officers have any legal power or moral responsibility to prevent or restrict what the media record, and resolve this case urgently.”
NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “We are delighted to be supporting Marc’s case. He has been treated disgracefully and it is important that such behaviour is challenged and proper amends made.
“Key democratic principles are at stake here and we are determined to do everything in our power to make sure that Marc gets justice.”

New anti-terror jail
THE GOVERNMENT is to build a new maximum-security jail to hold up to 30 terrorism suspects to replace the notorious Paddington Green police station, which was built in the 1960s and is now considered out of date.
Counter-Terrorism Minister Tony McNulty told Parliament last week that it was “well accepted” that the office-block-style Paddington Green has had its day.
The high-tech replacement will be designed to hold suspects for much longer as the Government hopes to bring in before Christmas a new Counter-Terrorism Bill that would allow suspects to be held for significantly longer than the current 28-days limit. When Paddington Green was built the limit was three days.
The new police station will allow High Court judges to authorise continued detention of suspects by video link without the suspects having to be brought to court.
The Government claims this will prevent the disruption of London traffic caused by security convoys carrying suspects around the capital.

NCP leader Andy Brooks and other friends of Korea met members of the art world at the Democratic Korean embassy in London last weekend at the opening of an exhibition of modern Korean paintings, panoramas and posters to mark the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the Workers Party of Korea in October 1945.
The exhibition was opened by Pak Chang Sop, a People’s Artist and President of Korea Paekho Trading Corporation, a Kim Il Sung Prize winner, the highest award for an artist in the DPR Korea. Earlier in the month Pak Chang Sop had taken part in the 16th International Panorama Conference in Plymouth. Korean giant 3-D panoramas are known throughout the world and the draft of one covering the historic struggle against the sea building dams in Holland ran for some 35 metres down the side of the embassy grounds. Korean artists have produced historical panoramas in Syria, Kuwait and Mali but perhaps the most famous is the October War Panorama in Cairo which commemorates in dramatic detail Egypt’s victorious offensive across the Suez Canal against Israel in October 1973.
Also on display were works created by the new Korean technique of jewel-powder painting. The paintings are covered in jewel dust which then keeps the
artwork from decaying in any way. Even immersion in water
cannot affect it. Others on show were many oil paintings and posters demonstrating the vitality and strength of Korean art. In Democratic Korea all artists work in teams to produce art that serves the people. This brief two-day exhibition high-lighted some of their best and it certainly was a vivid demonstration of the superiority of the socialist system in arts and culture.

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