Paparazzi Diary: Behind the Brangelina Front Lines
5/24/2006 5:09 PM PT
Nearly two months after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt arrived at Langstrand on the West Coast of Namibia, the mood has changed from welcoming excitement to tense anticipation, writes a paparazzi in Namibia in an exclusive diary written for TMZ.
The diary follows in her own words:
Heavy-handed security men equipped with binoculars and walkie talkies threaten, chase and intimidate anyone who come within sight of the couple's Namibian coastal hideout.
The thugs have been backed up by the Namibian police, who have created their own special task force to patrol the Lang Stand beach. Unwelcome foreign journalists have been flushed out of their homes or hotels and sent packing under immigration orders. This weekend, one veteran photog was thrown into jail while pursuing a shot, and three French photographers have been ordered to leave Namibia or face arrest. The government has even taken the extreme step of decreeing that foreign journalists who want to cover the story must have approval from Brangelina before they can enter the country.
Angelina and Brad have tried to counter the thug publicity by releasing some of their own posed photos to the world, showing everyone what a lovely family vacation they were having in the desert. Angelina also conducted a walkabout in a small squatter township on the outskirts of Swakopmund, where she surrounded herself with dozens of underprivileged children while being interviewed by her own TV crew, on her own terms.
But that pretty picture was countered by the Human Rights Organisation of Namibia, which slammed the aggressive manner security crews were using to protect their celebrity status.
From day one, local security squads have fiercely protected the actress and Brad with ferocity. The Burning Shore resort has become a forbidden fortress surrounded by green shade netting.
The perception in the world is that the couple are being swarmed by photographers. The reality is different. Much of the press is too scared to stick around.