Climate First! is calling for daily protests against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline at the US Department of State. Beginning yesterday activists have met at the Foggy Bottom Metro and walked to the State Department to hold signs and give out fliers. On the 2nd of March, security guards again tried to order activists not to videotape them but were rebuffed.
This time around, a second videographer set up across the street in an “overwatch” position to deter any aggression against the person up close with a camera.As a result, security guards stopped bothering videographers since there was no way to engage both of them at once and the overwatch was across the street with traffic in between.
Afterwards, it came out that security guards admitted that Climate First’s lawyer was correct in that people are permitted to film, but they were ordered to “ask” people not to shoot video of them ANYWAY. The legality of the situation is this: any videoing in a public place is of either legal or illegal activity. If the subject of the taping is not violating any laws, then it’s not a police matter. If the video is of any illegal or questionable activity by protesters, cops, or anyone else, then the videographer is collecting evidence. Interfering in that collection could be construed as obstructing justice, which is a felony.