A freelance photographer who claims she was assaulted by a security guard while taking photos of a peaceful protest at a Topshop store cancelled plans to hold a protest there at the weekend.
The National Union of Journalists is backing photographer Jess Hurd who has been banned from the Topshop in London’s Oxford Circus following the incident last December.
Jess had called a protest to take place at the store last Saturday after she failed to get an apology from Topshop but backed down from this after senior bosses at the company agreed to meet with the union, who had written a letter of complaint.
She said that the incident occured when she was taking photos of the arrests of UK Uncut protestors in the store and she was asked to leave by a security guard, who said he was arresting her for aggravated trespass.
NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet said: “I am glad Topshop have seen sense and have responded to the complaint. Journalists play a critical public interest role in reporting on protests so the public are informed about what was happening.
“It is simply unacceptable that NUJ members face abuse and harassment whilst doing their jobs.”
Describing the incident with the security guard, Jess said: “He began manhandling me. I said, ‘I’m a member of the press, I don’t understand why you are arresting me, I’m trying to leave’. He continued to use force to move me towards the back of the store and pulled my clothing up, exposing my upper body.
“I was sure that he didn’t have arrest powers and challenged again, he then said he was detaining me for ‘resisting arrest’. He was using quite a lot of force and I was shouting ‘you’re assaulting me, get your hands off me’.
She was then detained by two police officers who asked to take her camera, which she declined.
Jess, who is chair of the London Photographers’ branch of the NUJ, was then released but told that she was banned from the store.
Topshop has not responded to requests for a comment.