The story of how an innocent photographer got arrested by
the riot police
(or: Why I can't stand kids)
Today was one of the sickest days of my life. For one thing, last night I didn't
go to bed until 4:30 am, due to an essay that I had to write. Shucks
In any case, this morning I woke up at 9:00, dead tired, but determined
that I was going to get my ass to school.
I got there, only to find out that the due-date of the essay had been moved
by a day.. So it's due tomorrow. Ack.
<skipping through a fairly long and not very interesting day at the uni>
deprived of sleep again
I got a call on my cell phone just as I was about to crash in my bed at
about 4'o'clock. A demonstration was happening on the other side of town.
Of course, being such a dedicated staff member of the student
newspaper, I put my clothes back up, grabbed my Camera, a handfull of
black and white film, and an umbrella, and ran off to the bus.
The demo was against the opening of a new McDonalds in a particular area
of town. I have to admit that I sympathize with the protestors:
The McD's was placed opposite an elementary school, right beside a health
centre, in an area with very nice victorian buildings. The
big M was a real eye-sore.
Enter the militant kiddies
The protestors were very peaceful - three or four teenagers, a few kids my
age (university students, in other words), and a few "proper grown ups"
(as in between 40 and 60) handing out leaflets, talking to pedestrians walking
by, and holding up a banner.
Everything went just fine, until a few young kids (11-12) started discussing
with some of the protestors. The protestors tried to explain why a McD's was
bad, while the kids were chanting "We love our burgers".
The trouble starts
As a result of our protest, the management calls the police. Not that we were
doing anything illegal (they were off their property, at least technically).
In any case, there were two policecars and a few riot police people around
(you know.. flak vests and batons).
In any case, the kids start chewing up pieces of paper, and spitting it at
the protestors. Very annoying, and the police didn't see it. In any case, one
of the kids gets brave, and gets one of these little cups*, fills it with
ketchup, and throws it at the protestors.
*) In some european countries( including the UK), you get a small paper cup
and you use some form of pump to fill the cup with ketchup
The manager of the McD's stands and looks at this, but doesn't do anything.
I start getting a bit worried about the situation, but decide to go on snapping
Then it happens. One of the kids throws another of those cups, and hits me.
Not really a problem, cause clothes can be washed, you may say. However, as
I am working at the moment, I am carrying my camera around. My camera happens
to be a Canon EOS 1N HS. If this says you nothing, think of an outrageously
expensive camera that press people like to carry around if they
lack in other areas of life (I'm not saying that.. eh.. never mind, at least
you got my point).
Including the lens, this camera is a good $2000 worth of equipment, and I obviously
get very annoyed at the small brats. So I go over (into McD's territory)
to have a chat with them about it - try to make them quit.
Then it happens again. One of the kids hits me right in the nuts with a cup
of ketchup. So I run after the kid, cursing him with all the english
words I know. When I run out of English words, I continue in Dutch and Norwegian
(You might imagine how that must have looked.. someone 6'4 tall with a heavy
bag of photo equipment and a 2,5 lbs camera running after an 11 year old, basically
telling the kid he's going to die a horrible, slow and painful death)
In any case, in rounding a corner around the McD's, I litterally ran
down a Riot Police officer. Not a great move. Even worse: He did a self-defense
move.. Because I have done a few years of Jitsu, I acted on reflexes, and
countered his move, almost slamming him to the ground, before recovering
Before I know it, I got three riot police people all over me, and I'm wearing
a set of gleaming, trendy handcuffs.
It took me a while to explain my situation. Of course, the kid got away (Seriously
- those kind of kids should be shot in the head... twice.)
.... And I got released.
Needless to say, it's been a rather odd day today.