Tuesday, May 01, 2007

My first riot...... in Santiago

Today, I got to see my first riot. It was really neat. (Mom, dont worry, it was fun). I have no idea what was going on politically, but it started with a group of people in the park, just hanging out. I did hear a bit of chanting and loud angry voices, but nothing big, maybe two groups of 5 or 15 people making noise with another hundred or so in the main area and another hundred around the block. Then, the riot police (maybe 40, three groups of 10-15) took 3 sides of the park and started walking in towards the center, pushing the crowd back. They moved slowly, walking down the park one block down, then the riot people formed a line. The rioters were a bit louder now and then got squirted by the water truck. Maybe half the crowd left and the rest whistled, chanted, and threw rocks back at the military people. The military people then simply left. The next thing was the most interesting to me. The original protesting group had become pretty small, only maybe 10 people throwing rocks and another 50 to 80 standing around in the park. They started throwing rocks at the photographers. I dont really know why, but everybody with a camera was getting rocks thrown at them, my side of the street and normal people with SLRs included. After 10 minutes of this, somehow, the photographers and some other random street-clothed people in a somewhat organized line rushed the park rrom my side of the street and started chasing the original rioters (who ran away). I have no idea what that was, why the police left, why the rioters didnt like cameras, or what prompted another group of people to chase the rioters (rocks of course, but was it just simple anger? another opposing group?), but it was interesting seeing it anyways.

Then, of course, Claire was so tired as to be somewhat incoherent (even after a full nights sleep), that we headed home so she could take a nap. I dont know about you guys, but a good riot does a lot more than a cup of coffee for me...... Espresso or stone throwing and beatings? Im convinced that nearly anything puts Claire to sleep.

The dude with the gas mask and camera was something like the leader of a group of 10 people with video gear. He looked really hardcore and got a lot of stones tossed his way. This shot is after the first wave of police pushed the crowd down a block.

One of the three groups rushing the park from my side of the street.
Water truck...... It sprayed a few times and got the crowd to disperse a bit, but I think it pissed them off too - lots more shouting and stones after that thing squirted.
Stone throwing at photographers - only a handfull of people were doing this, but they hit every police-type vehicle that came by.


Blogger Liz said...

Holy shit!! What was is about?? do you know? Where's the story??

10:38 AM  

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