Dean O'Brien's Blog

Queens Gurkha Signals Homecoming & EDL demo: Nuneaton Sunday 26th September 2010

with 4 comments

Well after hearing about the tension that was mounting at the last homecoming parade between Muslims in the Edward Street area of Nuneaton and members of the English Defence League I decided that it might be worth taking a look.  I’m also trying hard to break into documentary and journalistic photography so this was a good chance at grabbing some images.  Small pockets of lads were moving around the outskirts of the town centre similar to what one might see on football match day.  Yes I believe the ‘cat and mouse’ game with the Police was in full effect.

I have attended loads of similar demonstrations to this in the past and the procedure seems pretty straightforward.  Its all about containment.  The Police managed to contain the majority of the EDL in one pub in the centre of the town.  This was about a quarter of a mile from the bottom of Edward Street, so not very far at all.  There were however small groups who had decided not to be herded in were trying to do their own thing.  The atmosphere was very tense though.  Walking around the town you could feel the tension.  Lined up at the bottom of Edward Street were Police vehicles and officers intent on keeping the two factions apart.  It was at this end that I got probably my best shot of the day.  A Police officer talking to a Muslim who was holding a union jack flag.

Its always a shame when homecoming parades such as this are over-shadowed by protests.  Yes, it does take something away from the occasion of that I am sure.  I’m not here to decide who is right or wrong in these situations.  I want to take images that show a true reflection of what happened on the day and let the viewer decide.  I never took many of the actual parade itself as I knew that this was already being heavily photographed by the tripod brigade.  Last year I covered the Fusiliers homecoming in Kenilworth so I needed my images to be different for this event.

The learning outcomes of shooting events such as this are many. I kept my equipment simple. Nothing to over complicate or distract me from what I was trying to shoot. When demonstrations like this are becoming volatile it is best to leave before the end so to speak. There is always the chance that those people who were making threats about you taking their image earlier on in the day will be hanging around waiting for the Police to disappear.

I knew that editing the images and getting the blog post written quickly was vital as people were already Googling for news and images on the days event. I sent links to my blog post to the Coventry Telegraph. Anything to get my images some exposure. My blog received just under 900 views for that day alone due to this post. This was helped by having the blog post tagged so that it appeared in search engines.

Below are just a few of the images which I captured.

Written by Dean O'Brien

September 26, 2010 at 2:27 pm

4 Responses

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  1. I’m really impressed with your photos. Top marks for the wonderful image of the Policeman with the Asian guy with flag. It made me feel some hope. Great work.

    Ann-Kristine Westwood

    September 26, 2010 at 3:45 pm

  2. Dean

    Section 60 of Powers to Restrict Right to Protest have nothing to do with stopping a photographer from taking images. It is to do with the right to stop and search. As usual they will try and bamboozle with legal talk without understanding it thematics.

    More info here.


    rick medlock

    September 27, 2010 at 1:59 pm

  3. Sunday the 25th was quite eventful for those on the Birmingham New street train. We were all diverted to other trains due to, we were told, the theft of cables from near the signal box at Nuneaton. Imagine our surprise at the enormous police presence at the station that (we thought) this warranted. We learned later that the two incidents were not related (or maybe they were). The situation was turned into a very amusing one by the sound of an approaching ice cream van, jingles blaring, in the midst of all the mayhem. All well worth the late arrival home.

    jenny black

    September 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm

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