There was one FIT photographer at Mayday 2010 in London – Neil Williams, plus minders, who took my photo shortly after the march left Clerkenwell Green. The FIT teams seemed to be deliberately keeping their distance from the marchers (a couple of thousand of them at least), but keeping a close eye on the ‘autonomous bloc’ as it marched to Trafalgar Square.
The people going to the Election Meltdown party at Parliament Square peeled off from the main march at Trafalgar Square and continued to Parliament Square without incident.
Once the party in the Square had started, the FIT again kept their distance, watching partygoers from over the road – hard to tell from that distance if they WERE FIT, they had those yellow and blue ‘public order’ jackets, earpieces and were generally frantically scribbling notes. Some were talking into voice recorders. They directed Neil to take pictures, mostly of people conferring. It looked to me as if one group of three FIT officers at one point were pointing out people in the Square to a flatcap yellow jacket officer, as if it were some kind of FIT training exercise.
As the party wore on, I noticed that a very senior copper – he had one of those caps with a metal lining on the brim – was watching us from a balcony of the Houses of Parliament together with a yellow and blue ‘public order’ jacket cop, and one – possibly two – photographers, hard to tell from such a distance.
The remarkably chilled watch at a distance policy may have been down to the Mayday party becoming a tourist attraction – the Executioner who’d come to do mock executions of politicians in effigy was having his picture taken with tourists.