Jess Hurd

Mark Thomas

Capital of Culture?

I’ve just returned from a work trip to Istanbul. I was there two years ago with Mark Thomas working on his book exposing the crimes of Coca Cola.

Whilst I was there I visited Sulukule, the oldest gypsy community in the world and a community facing forced eviction and demolition, the story appeared as eyewitness in the Guardian newspaper.

The Roma residents, famous for their traditional gypsy music, were fighting the ‘gentrification’ of their historic community, which was only to leave a handful of houses as museum artifacts and re-house the gypsies in anonymous blocks some way outside the city.

The community is now dispersed, destroyed and impoverished and as Istanbul celebrates its European Capital of Culture status it represents exactly the opposite in my opinion.

See Sulukule slideshow here

Images available to licence from

For Police Eyes Only

This is enlarged from an image I took in 2004 which shows a police officer with named photo ID’s of individuals on a Stop the War coalition protest outside an election fundraising dinner where George Bush Senior was after dinner speaker (pic is used in the Guardian story related today)

Not only does it contain prominent peace activists but also outrageously, two journalists (names and faces have been blurred to protect the identity of individuals listed)

The spotter card is used by police to identify potential ‘trouble makers’.

See Guardian article; Police in £9m scheme to log ‘domestic extremists’ here

and Domestic Extremist blog piece here

© Jess Hurd/

Images available from

The Bay Tree Gets It

Comedian and political activist Mark Thomas and supporters hold hostage Margaret Morans MP’s Bay Tree on the Fourth Plinth. It faced execution by radical pruning unless she resigned over the expenses scandal. Trafalgar Square, London.

© Jess Hurd/

Images available from

See Web Gallery here

Open letter from Mark Thomas here

Images showing in Mark Thomas’s Edinburgh show at The Stand.

More Custard – Less Tax Dodgers

Mark Thomas, demonstrates against the offshore ownership of the Home Office and calls for more custard less tax dodgers. London.
© Jess Hurd/

See web gallery here
Images available from

Middle Class Summer of Rage

Mark Thomas, comedian starts the Middle Class Summer of Rage by having a picnic outside New Scotland Yard. Westminster, London.

© Jess Hurd/

See Web Gallery here

Images available from

The Pound Shop

Mark Thomas, comedian campaigns for The Bank of England to be renamed The Pound Shop. City of London.

© Jess Hurd/

See Web Gallery here

Images available from

Occupy the Treasury!

Mark Thomas calls for workers to occupy the Treasury and have a rent stike against the building owner who has his money off-shore. London.

© Jess Hurd/

See web gallery here

Images available from

Mark Thomas Pimps Peers

Lords calling cards left in public phone boxes advertising corruption, perversion of the political process and 100% discretion. Mark Thomas, comedian and other activists use stunt to highlight allegations that peers told undercover reporters that they were willing to use their influence to help to amend legislation in return for money.

See web gallery here

All images available from

I’m A Photographer …Not a Terrorist

Seeing as the police don’t seem to recognise the legitimacy of press card these days. We thought we would make our status clear with our own badge..

We have seen artists arrested under the terrorism legislation.
A local historian stopped and searched for photographing a plaque on a bench.

I was also detained by police in the London Docklands before Christmas whilst covering a traveller wedding and accused of doing ‘hostile reconnaissance’. Read the Guardian and other related articles here

Enough is Enough.

Monday 16th February 2009 will see the enforcement of Section 76 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. As the British Journal of Photography (BJP) wrote last month,

“The relationship between photographers and police could worsen next month when new laws are introduced that allow for the arrest – and imprisonment – of anyone who takes pictures of officers ‘likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism’.”

Read the full BJP article here

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has teamed up with Mark Thomas (writer, broadcaster, comic and political activist), Chris Atkins (the BAFTA nominated director and writer of the feature film documentary Taking Liberties), and many more for a “media event” outside New Scotland Yard on Monday 16 February 2009. The plan is simple, turn up with your camera and exercise your democratic right to take a photograph in a public place.

More info about the background to this “media event” visit the NUJ

Please note: This is NOT a Protest!

Belching Out The Devil

Earlier on in the year I had the privilege of working with activist, journalist and comedian Mark Thomas on his new book Belching Out The Devil

We visited trade unionists in Colombia living under paramilitary death threat and Coca Cola workers and their families in Istanbul who were brutally attacked by the police in the company HQ. 
This book is a serious investigation in to the activities of Coca Cola the global corporate brand, but it also makes you laugh out loud roughly every three pages.
A must get Xmas present for all the family!
Guardian : ‘John Pilger with laughs’
Image of Mark Thomas with Che Guevara in the Sinatrainal trade union offices, Bogota –
© Jess Hurd/
Images available from
Read interview here

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