G20 protests - Photo opportunity?

I found this photograph with no credit on the BBC website this morning. A large number of protests and demonstrations are taking place in London to coincide with the G20 summit that is taking place in the city.

As you can see, the media is out in force and from the looks of it they seem to be after that classic 'violent protest' image. Here the windows of the Royal Bank of Scotland are being smashed while a swarm of photographers and film crews behave like vultures around a carcass. I'm never quite sure what smashing a few windows is meant to achieve, and I'm even less sure of the need to encourage the behaviour in this manner. It reminds me of when I was a kid and you'd get into fights in the playground. Even if it started small, a ring of kids would soon gather usually chanting 'fight fight fight!' and goading you on untill either someone really got hurt or a teacher would come and break it up.

I sympathise with the reasons for protesting and if I was in London I would probably be at one of the demonstrations myself and yes I'd have my camera (even if I wasn't 'on the job') but I would probably be looking more for images like this one instead..

I took this six years ago as the streets of cities around the world filled with people who were protesting the upcoming war in Iraq. I guess no one listened to us. Maybe we should have smashed some more stuff.

In any case, with the relationship between the police, the media and the general public at a pretty low point, I am curious as to how the day in London will turn out - especially if the media, the protesters and the police all start behaving like morons. I grew up in a town where economic and social tensions occassionally erupted into full scale rioting. It's not pretty and it doesn't really help anyone much. Those who want to instigate a violent revolution would do well to remind themselves that breaking a few windows is really a rather poor way to go about doing things, and maybe we photographers would do well to remind ourselves that it's a bit pointless to encourage this kind of useless behaviour.

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