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On the Culture of Protest: Pictures from the depth of London demonstrations

David Sladek | United Kingdom

Support for Kurdish hunger strike Demonstration, London, 2019

UK has, in the recent years, seen an unprecedented number of demonstrations. Political and social unrest originally galvanised by the financial crisis and austerity culminated in several seasons of protest on topics including Brexit, climate change, women rights and the NHS. While most media seemed to be focused on size of the rallies and picking on the front line activists or creativity of their placards, I wanted to look beyond the banners, deeper into the crowds and study their interaction with streets.

I discovered scores of stories, some hidden in the depth of the marches, some running in the background and others on the edges. I saw children, introduced to protests by their parents, creating their micro universes while repeating chants and later resting exhausted between the scattered banners. I witnessed a vibrant cultural experience unique perhaps only to London and a palette of emotions far wider than anger and frustration. And, of course, I met the media – dozens of photographers and TV crews. Many of them became familiar faces just like the activists in their viewfinders.

David Sladek is a Czech independent photographer and journalist living in London. For several years he worked for the Czech News Agency as a reporter. Since moving to the UK he has been focusing his work on minorities and subcultures of England. Since 2017 he has been documenting the culture of protest in the UK

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