Award-winning accredited photographer kicked out of Tory conference after 'security claimed he was a threat'

5 October 2022, 19:13 | Updated: 5 October 2022, 19:55

The photographer was kicked out of Tory conference
The photographer was kicked out of Tory conference. Picture: Dino Sofos/Twitter

By Asher McShane

An award-winning photographer was booted out of Tory conference by security guards who had singled him out as a potential ‘threat’.

Tolga Akmen, an award winner who works for the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) was manhandled out of the Conference venue in Birmingham after security claimed he appeared to pose a ‘threat’.

He was refused entry to the hall where the PM was giving her speech before being manhandled out of the venue by three security guards.

He told “I argued briefly that I’m going to the photographers’ area.

“I was given no explanation… the security guard (was) following me and radioing my description and describing me as a threat.”

He said his accreditation was ripped off his chest and he was thrown from the building.

He said he had been “swearing at the world in general” because officials would not let him in.

Journalist Dino Sofos, who shared the footage on Twitter, captioned it: ‘A photographer has just been dragged off the conference centre floor by security.”

In the clip Mr Akmen can be heard saying: “I’m not being aggressive - only for a security guard to tell him ‘you are being aggressive.’”

“I’m a member of the media. Can you stop this please?

“What are you doing? I didn’t do anything…. I promise you I didn’t do anything.”

A source told LBC he was “kicked out for basically looking like a protester”.

Liz Truss’s speech was disrupted by Greenpeace activists who accused the government of ignoring manifesto pledges.

Mr Akmen won Getty Images Young Photographer of the Year in 2016 and the Fixation News Photographer of the Year 2019 awards.

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "We are aware there was an incident earlier today where a photographer was removed by venue security staff.

"We believe there may have been a misunderstanding and have been in contact with the photographer."

Mr Akmen confirmed Conservative Campaign Headquarters had been in touch to apologise, adding that he was waiting for a formal apology to be sent.